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I just spoke with the Copyright Office, and from what they tell me, the
academic showing of a video falls into a rather greay area.  "Fair use"
for home consumers includes taping off the air and showing it privately
in the home; public showings (whether for money or otherwise) would
claerly violate this proscription.  Yet the "fair use" section
of the law makes specific allocations for academic use, with the
critera being 1) Not sold for profit or charging admission; 2) Done
spontaneously, without the kind of advance planning that would enable
one to write for permission; and 3) A small portion (less than 10%) of
the "work."  The whole issue (I think) hinges on "the work" -- is
_The Cosy Show_ as a whole "the work"?  If so, _one_ episode would
be considerably less than 10%.  If on the other hand the _show_ is
the work, only the briefest portions of a single show would be legal.
 
Whatever the answer -- and diverse lwayers would I suspect provide
diverse answers -- to me it's another example of how the copyright
law needs to be clarified and amended (see the recent article in
_The Chronicle of Higher Education_ for more examples of this). As
written, the copyright act stifles the free exchange of knowledge
at colleges and universities, and does so despite the fact that there
is no _real_ loss of income to the copyright holders in 99% of all
uses.  If it comes down to having to write to secure permission
to show any video, then the result will be (I suspect) that fil
m and TV studies will be dead in the water -- teachers will be reduced
to showing their own videos.
 
Anyway, pardon the typos.  ANd if there is anyone who is or who
knows a copyright lawyer out there post a note!
 
Russell Potter