Michele’s M7 Reflection

The issue of copyright is a big one for film and media studies instructors because the primary objects that we deal with are copyright protected. This makes simple tasks like putting your lectures online challenging.  A couple of semesters ago, I decided that I would compile my lecture clips for my Introduction to Film class so that my students could refresh their memories when preparing for the midterm and final exams. I figured that Emory must have a way for me to do this easily…well, it’s not so easy because the files are huge and because they have to be behind a password-protected “wall” so that they remain accessible only to my students (similar to Course Reserves). Eventually, I was introduced to Echo360, which is a software system designed to capture live lectures or Skype calls and not intended for this purpose at all.  Thankfully, it works, and I am lucky to to be able to stream my clips through Blackboard every semester.  While compiling them is a lot of work (I tend to change my choice of films from semester to semester because I am a masochist), I prefer to do it this way instead of having my students find clips on YouTube for two reasons. First, because I have control over the timing of the clip, i.e. when it ends and begins and its quality, and most importantly for the purposes of this discussion, it falls under fair use whereas clips on YouTube are in violation of copyright law. This is so important that our academic organization, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies has a fair use statement on its website to clarify that The Library of Congress “created an exemption allowing film and media studies professors to create digital clips from legally-obtained DVDs housed in college and university libraries.”

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