Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Fair Use for Presentations? 68

Fubar asks: "The company I work for provides training 'workshops' to various folks in the finance industry. The folks who give the presentations during the workshops are considering adding short clips from various movies to help illustrate their points. In my searching, I have found evidence that basically seems to suggest the practice COULD be either a) fine or b) illegal. Not exactly the black & white answer I was hoping to find."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fair Use for Presentations?

Comments Filter:
  • Of course, IANAL, but I always assumed that unless you were selling the end product in a commercial environment, this sort of thing is ok, but on the other hand, there are some bits of copyrighting that say otherwise.

    I'm really interested in whatever the real answer to this question is because I do this sort of thing as well.

    • I guess it depends on where "fair use" ends and "copyright infringement begins", which is probably quite a large grey area which both sides would like to be black and white, although probably not with the same proportions of "black" and "white". You could probably use the standard disclaimer most DVDs seem to force you to watch as a starting point; if it has words to the effect of "public broadcast of any part of this product are prohibited", then that's pretty clear cut. Failing that, you would really ne
      • One place I worked at, the lawyers basically said that it wasn't copyright infringement if we used copyrighted images on internal pages. The implication was that if the images went outside our company, it'd be verboten. Based on that, I'd say that if it's part of something you're selling, like a presentation, then it's probably not kosher.

    • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:44PM (#15625690) Journal
      IANAL but here goes as far as my understanding goes.

      If you are in an art history class, and were citing The Simpsons in their impact on culture in the Late 20th century, then use of images and clips to illustrate the point in this discussion about the Simpsons is fine and quite legit. You are likely not using an entire show, but might have clips of entire bits or segments.

      On the other hand, if you are selling a product called BARFO, then the use of the Simpsons is not legitimate, as it is likely the use of a copyrighted image in the promotion of a product, without licensing.

      Internal usage inside a company, such as a sales training manual, would probably pass because the danger of getting caught is low. This would probably be inside a single office.

      External usage, say in the training of Vendors, or across a much larger campany area is probably in dangerous territory, probably because it is unlicensed usage, and the danger of getting caught is much higher. This brings to mind the phrase "not a career enhancing decision". Lawyers might get to know you well. This is not always a good thing

      For an example, see this discussion of a classic cartoonist instruction book, where the first edition had to be changed in the second edition, so as not use well known characters of the day. The first edition used all famous characters, many of which you may recognise. Link one [blogspot.com] and Link two [blogspot.com]

      These links are heavy with illustrations. which enlarge when you click on them.

      Thus you could likely use simpson inspired characters, or simpson style characters,

      Using the actual simpson characters in materials to be distributed outside the company into a semi-public or public area Is probably very bad. Similar to using them on a company website or blog, again, without permission.

      • I'm not sure how education gets into this too. In school, we often watch movies (To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the Flies, etc..) and that was kind of a public performance. I mean, it wasn't really in your own home. What if it wasn't part of a class? What if it was an after school program? Do schools have to pay for the rights to show these films? What about copyrighted music at school dances? I think the poster's situation would fall into the same realm. I don't see how this coul
        • Typically the schools purchased the films for the school system. Renting them from your local video store would not be on the menu. Typically a school also has a small fee that goes to ASCAP, or BMI so the composer's get their share. The RIAA might have other issues with the school dance, however.
  • I've had teachers who do the same thing, as long as the audience is small I doubt anyone's going to care. And if you run into someone who does care, do you think they're really going to sue you for compensation for all the past times that you've done it? No, they'll probably just ask you to stop, and you can stop then.
    • Educational use is a special part of fair use with extended rights.
      • Educational use is a special part of fair use with extended rights.

        No. No it isn't.

        Educational use doesn't do anything to get "extended rights". Educational use is simply a part of one of the four determining factors to be considered when deciding whether something is fair use. You see, the tricky bit about fair use is that the law doesn't say what it is. It is up to the legal system (the courts) to decide fair use claims on a case-by-case basis. By now we've developed a small set of legal precedents, but s

  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @09:17PM (#15625427)
    OK, this is supposed to be "insightful", not "funny". If you don't know "Fantasia", don't bother.

    Back in the day, I was teaching Java at the local community college. Every semester, I'd bring in "Fantasia" and show the Mickey Mouse as Sorcerer's Apprentice bit. Mickey would watch the sorcerer, who'd go off to bed, then Mickey would start the broomsticks filling the well, (dum da dadada dum da) things would get out of hand, and the broomsticks would split and split and split. Next thing you know, Mickey's afloat on the sorcerer's book, frantically turning pages, trying to figure out how to make it stop.

    I'd pause the tape then, and after a long time starting at Mickey floating atop the book, I'd say:

    "NOW he checks the docs."

    • There really needs to be a +1 funny because it's so insightful.
      • I make a lot of my points with humor. Jesus told parables, I tell jokes. The goal of either is to make you think. Try it sometime.

        If you're nice to me, maybe I'll tell you the pot roast joke. Guaranteed programmers ROFL, because it's true, but said in a funny way.
        • If you're nice to me, maybe I'll tell you the pot roast joke. Guaranteed programmers ROFL, because it's true, but said in a funny way.
          Dude, this pot roast joke had better be good, I was all set to moderate three posts in this thread, but I gotta hear it.
          • You've never heard the Pot Roast joke? What's this world coming to?! We'd better correct that immediately! :-)

            The joke goes like this:

            A newly-wed husband noticed that every time his wife cooked a ham, she would first cut off a quarter of it and put it in another pan. She would then put both pans into the oven to cook them. After pondering over why she might be doing this, he finally decided to ask her, "Honey, why do you always put a quarter of the ham in another pan?"

            "Why, I don't know," she replied. "My mother always did it that way, so that's the way I do it."

            Being a curious fellow, he convinced his wife to ask her mother next time she saw her.

            A few weeks later, she's talking with her mom and asks about the ham. "Mother, why did you always cut off a quarter of the ham before cooking it?"

            "Why, I don't know," she replied. "My mother always did it that way, so that's the way I do it!"

            When she related this to her husband, they both became even more curious! After much wrangling about bothering her grandmother (who was currently residing in a nursing home, bless her heart) they decided to pay her a visit and ask about the ham.

            A few days later, they visit her at the home with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She is duely impressed and asks to what she owes the visit. The couple, feeling a bit embarrassed, beat around the bush for awhile. After a bit of chatting, they finally get up the nerve to ask.

            "Grandmother, we've been wondering. I learned from mother to always cut off a quarter of the ham before cooking it. When I asked her why she did it, she said that she learned it from you. So we're kind of curious, why do you cut off a quarter of the ham before cooking it?"

            "What?!?" she exclaims, "You came all this way to ask me that?!?"

            "Um. Yes grandma," the granddaughter replies sheepishly.

            Grandma huffed a little at the rediculous question, shook her head, and then finally uttered her answer,

            "There's only one reason why I always cut a quarter of the ham off before I cooked it. My pan was too small!"


            I leave you to figure out the moral of the story. :-)
          • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:41PM (#15625684)
            > Dude, this pot roast joke had better be good, I was all set to moderate three posts in this thread, but I gotta hear it.

            Damn, two of my best stories blown on one thread, no funny voices or inflections, just ASCII, but, OK, since you ask so nice, and I haven't been hammered by the "overrated" mod trolls yet:

            There's a newlywed couple; he's watching her make dinner, and he asks:
            "Why do you cut the end off the pot roast like that?"
            And she says:
            "I've always done it that way, it has to be done that way, my mother taught me to do it that way".
            And he says:
            "Well, you don't have to cut the end of the pot roast off like that".
            And she says:
            "I've always done it that way, it has to be done that way, my mother taught me to do it that way".

            So they get into (their first) huge fight.

            She calls her mom in tears and asks:
            "Mom, why did you teach me to cut off the end of the pot roast like that?"
            And her mom says
            "I've always done it that way, it has to be done that way, my mother taught me to do it that way".
            And she says:
            "Well, Jeff says you don't have to do it that way."
            And her mom says:
            "I've always done it that way, it has to be done that way, my mother taught me to do it that way".

            Now, totally confused, the girl calls her gran, and asks:
            "Gran, why did you teach my mom, and she taught me, to cut off the end of the pot roast like that?"
            Her gran thinks for a minute and says:
            "I don't have a pan that big".

            Ba Dum Cha!

            Just to spoil the joke by explaining it:

            For those of you just joining us, the point would be something along the lines of:
            "The workarounds of one generation become the religious dictums to the next generation."
            • by Anonymous Coward
              When good information gets passed around, it usually accumulates useless mutations.

              For example, the grandmother is totally superfluous in that story. The way I heard it, the mother delivers the punchline. No need for the extra stack frame. And there was a lot less crying, too.

              I also think it's interesting that, about 10 years ago, the story would have been considered rather blatantly sexist. Times have changed.
        • If you're nice to me, maybe I'll tell you the pot roast joke.

          Oh, forget the pot roast joke. Show us the Cardassian neck trick! I want the Cardassian neck trick! And then read me "Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie!"

          Seriously, though, that's about the only way I can get through to /.'ers too is through jokes. And if that doesn't work, raving lunatic insanity sometimes works as well. It is particularly effective if I am at least slightly inebriated, like now.

  • Are you making any profit off this? I.e. If this is a workshop people are not paying to attend then you are definately in the free and clear. If you are making profit off this, then you are definately not in the free and clear. If you are charging admission, but not really doing it for the sake of a profit, so much as just covering your costs, then you are probably ok. At any rate, if that is the case, then most likely no copyright holders are likely to bother you anyway. So why worry about it?
  • No clear answer... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kebes ( 861706 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @09:22PM (#15625440) Journal
    IANAL, but I don't think you're going to find a clear answer. What you're talking about is a fringe case, so it's always up for debate. However, you should consider:

    1. Is it 'necessary' in the sense that you need that clip to make a point? Remember that satire, commentary, and even artistic pieces are protected. If you need the clip to make your point, then it's probably okay (subject to the next two points)...

    2. Is it a small usage? If you are showing only a small clip from a full movie (1%), then it's probably fine.

    3. Is it commercial? ... in the sense of "are you somehow limiting the original content owner's market?" If you're showing the full movie and charging people, you are cutting into the copyright holder's market (they charge ppl to see the movie, after all). If you are just using a short clip to make a point, and charging people for the presentation/training as a whole, then it's a fair use. Unless the copyright holder in question is actively trying to sell in the "clips for use in training sessions" market, then you're not cutting into his business.

    There will never be an iron-clad answer (that can only come out of a court decision). However if you seem to be "okay" with respect to 1, 2, and 3... I would guess that nearly any judge would not find you guilty of copyright infringement.

    I also know that in Canada there are explicit exceptions for education. Thus, if it is for teaching you can make copies of a copyrighted work and distribute these to the class. The only requirement is that you properly log all your usage, and that there is no viable, available, commercial alternative that performs the exact same function. I'm not sure if something similar exists in the US.

    The only people who will tell you that this is "obviously illegal" are those who are trying to exagerrate how extensive copyright really is. Of course, this is just my interpretation of the laws in question.
    • I also know that in Canada there are explicit exceptions for education. Thus, if it is for teaching you can make copies of a copyrighted work and distribute these to the class.

      That is within an educational setting that is licenced by Access Copyright.

      Fubar says "The company I work for provides training 'workshops' to various folks in the finance industry. The folks who give the presentations during the workshops are considering adding short clips from various movies to help illustrate their points."

      This is
    • Is it commercial? ... in the sense of "are you somehow limiting the original content owner's market?" If you're showing the full movie and charging people, you are cutting into the copyright holder's market (they charge ppl to see the movie, after all). If you are just using a short clip to make a point, and charging people for the presentation/training as a whole, then it's a fair use. Unless the copyright holder in question is actively trying to sell in the "clips for use in training sessions" market, the
  • IANAL either, but I would think since it is under their control, if they really wanted to and had evidence, they could probably nail you for it. What you want doesn't sound like "private use". Many things specifically say "blah blah, not for commercial distribution". Much software says "if this is used in a business, you have to pay, but if it's personal, you don't". So in short, I'd check the disclaimers of the material, and check with the copyright holders if you want to be safe. The chances of them
    • Many things specifically say "blah blah, not for commercial distribution".

      Yes, this is so that the CEO of Dish Network can't go down to Best Buy, purchase a copy of a show just released to DVD, and then broadcast it to all his customers. The copyright holder of a DVD copy of a movie is granting you an explicit right to show it for private purposes: you can watch it all you want, you can even invite all your friends over and show it at your birthday party. In other words, the distribution license for the c
      • Wow, no.

        The copyright holder of a DVD copy of a movie is granting you an explicit right to show it for private purposes

        No. This is because there is no right within copyright to control private performances. The only performances copyright deals with are public performances. What actually happens is that the owner of the DVD can do anything lawful that he wants with it, whether he wants to use it as a frisbee or use it to watch the content within. No one owns the work itself. And the copyright doesn't touch
  • by kaufmanmoore ( 930593 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @09:35PM (#15625485)
    look at this article from the intellectual property and technology forum at BC's law school, a few pages down it provides a hypothetical about using a film clip in a training presentation and how it couple be considered fair use. link [bc.edu]
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @09:38PM (#15625494) Homepage Journal
    Where even the lawyers can't agree on what is legal and what is not.
    • And that's how they make their money, if everything was black & white the lawyers would have nothing to do. Same with the tax laws. Imagine if the tax laws were consolidated, all the loopholes taken away. Billions of dollars would be saved that companies could put back into development, their workforce, etc.. Course the tax experts would have to find a new career but since their buddies write the tax laws, it's just a big circle jerk and we're all funding this.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 )
    ... seems to suggest the practice COULD be either

    (c) Lazy

    (d) If done badly - tasteless, irrelevant and a waste of time. Consider the SCO presentation near the very start of their linux IP claims which contained clips from a James Bond movie. In that presentation it was implied that Darl McBride was in some way similar to James Bond and the linux community was similar to the forces of evil in the movie. A presentation like this may look cool and funny to insiders but to outsiders (who may be in your aud

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @09:41PM (#15625504)
    The concept of "fair use" is really only a legal defense in case you are sued/prosecuted for copyright infringement. This effectively means there are no hard and fast rules as to what is OK and what is not OK - it is all subject to interpretation and one person's grey area may be another judge's clear distinction.


    Here's the relevant section of the law:

    107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use [copyright.gov]


    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include --

    1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
    3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.


    As you can see, there is lots of room for interpretation - which, like most of the law, helps to keep the unemployment rate among lawyers very low.
    • Actually it's not that wide as regards interpretation.

      Unless your company is functioning as a non-profit, you are making money off their work, using it to illustrate point. So, you need their permission, which may or may not come with certain royalty payments needing to be made.

      While the scope for written materials is fairly wide, because one can cite a small piece, generally speaking when it comes to visual elements, there tends to not be much latitude given, with the possible exception of academic work.

  • Remember that stupidly annoying FBI warning on your DVD movies? That pretty much tells you exactly whether or not you are allowed to use parts of the movie for your own purposes. Simply put, you're not. Now you can contact the movie publishers or one of their agents to buy an appropriate license for a price -- at least I assume so. I know that many TV shows have programs for that sort of situation. Similarly, there's a well outlined method for using music for your public events and corporate use.

    IAN
  • You can probably get away with this if the audiences are small enough that nobody with the copyright holders ever finds out about what you're doing, but it seems clearly illegal and would be very bad judgment.

    You would be using someone else's work product in a commercial environment. You open your company up to serious copyright lawsuits and bad PR. It's not worth it. If you truly need footage to illustrate something, buy permission to use something that you can actually afford. Or find public domain footag
  • How the US "justice" system works is that the richer party wins. Rulings on the issue so far have not involved the big media corporations and thus vary in outcome and are few in number. Once one of them brings it to trial, the ambiguity will be resolved since there's no chance in hell of them being the poorer no matter who the defendant is, and once they decide to act they'll sue as many victims as possible. If you do it now, you probably won't get sued. If you do it in, say, two years now that youtube
  • You want legal advice: go see a lawyer. Why on earth would you take any notice of the comments of the geeks on /. regarding any legal issue?
  • IANAL - but I have a client that used movie clips in presentations... used the same ones for 3yrs. (5 to 10min clips), then they got their letter from the mpaa wanting fines and requiring they purchase licenses. They paid the fines and removed the clips. They did not tell me what the licensing cost was, but they no longer use commercial movie clips.

    If you are in business and you are using it to get business, then pay up, don't be a dick.
  • I only know this... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 ) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @01:05AM (#15626066)
    From the great Lawrence Lessig [lessig.org]'s Free Culture [free-culture.cc]:

    "I've seen the flash of recognition when people get this point, but only a few times. The first was at a conference of federal judges in California. The judges were gathered to discuss the emerging topic of cyber-law. I was asked to be on the panel. Harvey Saferstein, a well-respected lawyer from an L.A. firm, introduced the panel with a video that he and a friend, Robert Fairbank, had produced.

    The video was a brilliant collage of film from every period in the twentieth century, all framed around the idea of a 60 Minutes episode. The execution was perfect, down to the sixty-minute stopwatch. The judges loved every minute of it.

    When the lights came up, I looked over to my copanelist, David Nimmer, perhaps the leading copyright scholar and practitioner in the nation. He had an astonished look on his face, as he peered across the room of over 250 well-entertained judges.Taking an ominous tone, he began his talk with a question: "Do you know how many federal laws were just violated in this room?""

    These are ominous, deep and dark waters that you want to wade through. Get a lawyer, a very good lawyer.

    Sera

  • The TEACH Act provides a fair use framework for classroom use, including distance learning. There are strings attached. However, if your use falls under the scope of the TEACH Act, it should give you some clarity on what you can use without fear of reprisal.

    IANAL...
  • It's either fine, or illegal. It's a gray area. By design. If you're using very small portions then you're probably okay.
  • Theory and practice. (Score:3, Informative)

    by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:05AM (#15626531)
    In theory, you're 100% covered by fair use.

    In practice, fair use is an incredibly fuzzy thing. If you can't pay or your company can't pay a team of lawyers to protect your fair use rights against the 800lb gorillas from Hollywood, then you better not do it.

    Lawrence Lessig details this issue in his book [free-culture.cc]. Basically, even if it is a cut clear case of fair use, even then it is only clear cut as long as you have the lawyers to back that up. Lessig mentions the case when some documentary filmmaker was filming in a theatre and there was about 4 seconds of Simpsons caught on footage from a tv in the corner of the recorded picture. The guy who made the documentary wanted to clear rights for that 4 seconds, and the company who owns the rights to Simpsons demanded $10,000 (for something theoretically free under fair use). He couldn't even think about just using it anyway based on fair use, because the company he was making the documentary for had insured his production. It ment that lawyers would review the production and they would look for (among others) fair use parts, and if they didn't clear rights for those supposedly fair use parts from the copyright holder, they would most certainly never approve the production, because in their opinion it would carry too much of a risk factor.

    So there you have it, theory and practice.
  • Think of it as a liability. What are the chances that you would be sued for showing the clip? What are the possible damages you would have to pay? If you show a clip of "Ground Hog Day" to a group of 20 attendees, will one of them rat you out to the copyright holder? Does the copyright holder have the means and desire to persue you? Do you have enough money to make it worth the copyright holder's time to sue you?

    -Rick
  • I think you're trying to use specific clips, so this is OT, but if all you need is to demonstrate video capabilities of something, you could download NASA videos. They are pretty boring, and not a lot of motion (i.e. it's not really a great demo to show how fast your processor is), but they are openly licensed.
  • Pop quiz hotshot. When faced with a legal question that could potentially cause the MPAA to come calling on your company like a pack of rabid wolves, should you:

    A) Go to that great legal authority on the net, known as Slashdot
    or
    B) Hire a fscking lawyer

    I'll give you a hint ... you have chosen poorly.

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." -- Mark Twain

Working...