Legal Issue

This ongoing project is an independent endeavor and unassociated with my current host institution, Penn State University. All clips and descriptions are used under Fair Use and are intended for faculty teaching economics to implement into their classroom.

Robert Sexton outlined the legal issues of using clips to teach economics in his 2006 publication, “Using Short Movie and Television Clips in the Economics Principles Class“:

The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code, Public Law 94-553, 90 stat. 2541) generally prohibits a public performance of a movie, or even a short segment of a movie, without receiving prior licensing. A public performance is defined as a viewing of a copyright-protected work by a substantial number of people outside of a normal gathering of friends or family members. Clearly, showing a segment of a movie in a classroom would constitute a “public performance.” However, “fair-use” exemptions are provided, allowing performances to take place without prior licensing if specific criteria are met (Rouse 2005).

Simpson (2001) and Talab (1999) provide valuable explanations of the details of this fair-use exemption. An educational exemption applies if (1) the teacher or a student is showing the movie; (2) the viewing is taking place in the context of a face-to-face educational curriculum; (3) the viewing is taking place in a standard place of instruction, like a classroom; and (4) the viewing is of a legally acquired copy of the movie (that is, purchased, rented, or checked out from a library but not illegally copied). Although the use of films as described in the preceding pages would appear to satisfy these requirements, instructors might want to consult a legal representative from their institution before showing movie clips as a part of their classroom presentation.

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