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May I show video programs that are labeled "for home use only" to a class?

Yes. The copyright law is very clear in permitting the showing of motion pictures and other audiovisual materials in a classroom within a non-profit educational institution as long as it is part of "face-to-face" teaching activities. The use must be part of the instructional program and cannot be shown for recreation or entertainment. SECTION 110(1) of the Copyright Law exempts the classroom use of a lawfully manufactured and obtained copy of a motion picture from the public performance rights reserved to the copyright holder. This section of the law states:

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 106, the following are not infringements of copyright:

(1) performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a non-profit educational institution in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made.

With respect to where a motion picture or video program may be shown, the term "classroom or similar place" is defined on page 82 of House Hearing Report 94-1476 to mean a place which is devoted to instruction and would include a studio, a workshop, a gymnasium, a training field, a library, the stage of an auditorium, or the auditorium itself, if actually used as a classroom for systematic instructional activities.

It should also be noted that any duplication or copying of a video program is illegal. This would apply even to the making of an archival copy, putting the program on a server, or transferring from one format to another.

This statement has been reviewed for accuracy by the Motion Picture Association of America.

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