This is from one of the lists that I am on, and seemed worthy of broader distribution via the LIS Blog.
The Association for Information and Media Equipment has recently challenged one of our institution’s copyright compliance regarding the posting of video on university servers for instruction. As we understand it from the press, this challenge has resulted in the institution no longer posting the video for fear of legal action.
This situation echos previous instances when content owners have threatened our institutions with litigation for infringement, for example the various institutions whom the American Association of Publishers approached regarding e-reserves and course management systems a few years ago. It differs from the peer to peer aspect of copyright significantly because, apart now from HEOA compliance, our colleges and universities did not have liability as conduit service providers, i.e. the allegedly infringing material was not being served from our servers, we acted only as I.S.P.s. Thus, this current matter is serious. Not only does it threaten exorbitant legal expenses and damages in both dollars and reputation, by touching instruction it threatens the exercise of our missions.
Steve Worona, on EDUCAUSE’s behalf, has begun a blog to educate people about this matter and stimulate discussion in the community. http://www.educause.edu/blog/sworona/UCLAVideoStreamingDamnedDammed/197444
Please take a moment to learn more about this matter, as we are learning about it, and most especially talk with your colleagues at home and around the community. It may be that higher education must approach the issue from a range of positions (standing firm on fair use, understanding better the opportunities and limitations of the Teach Act, proactively and collectively arranging for licensing are some examples that jump quickly to mind) but what is absolutely critical is that we do so as a community, working to help each other to preserve our missions.