Although most educators don’t understand the details, they are generally aware of copyright law and the fair use provisions, generally accepted by the courts, allowing them leeway in using copyrighted materials in their teaching.
However, far fewer of them know about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law that makes it difficult to exercise those fair use rights, especially when it comes to DVDs.
Never fear… the MPAA has a solution: just play the program and record the video from the television set using a camcorder.
They’ve even made a helpful video to show you how to do it.┬á (Warning: It’s painfully funny to watch.)
This demonstration was part of the hearing now going on at the Library of Congress to determine if further exemptions to the DMCA should be permitted for all educators beyond the one granted in 2006 for college professors who teach film and media.
Keep in mind, this incredibly cumbersome, not to mention stupid, idea is brought to you by representatives of the big media companies who want to control where, when and how you view the product you thought you had already bought from them.
The DMCA shouldn’t exist at all but hopefully the panel will at least grant this provision.
For more on how the DMCA is screwing up more than fair use, read the EFF’s Unintended Consequences: Ten Years under the DMCA