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Copyright and Multimedia/Audio-Visual Material

Copyright restrictions apply as much to multimedia material such as sound and film recordings as they do to literary works such as books and journals. But there are specific rules that apply to them. This is a brief guide to what you are allowed to do with such material.

Sound recordings

  • classroom - sound recordings can be played in classrooms for the purpose of instruction by a lecturer (eg as part of a Music degree course) but not for other purposes (eg by clubs, societies, etc)
  • copying of music - this isn't allowed, except for giving instruction in the making of films/film soundtracks (so in very limited circumstances). Copies can also be made for the purposes of examination, but not as part of instruction. Publishing to the BLE would count as copying. So unfortunately, lecturers can't legitimately put recordings of music on the BLE without obtaining special permission from the publisher.
  • copying of extracts from sound recordings/making available extracts through BLE - lecturers may be able to do this under the exception for 'criticism and review' in copyright law. But they should only use short extracts and they should be necessary to support the criticism or review (ie not just for the sake of playing it).
  • where the recording was published more than 50 years ago - copyright will have expired on such recordings, so you can do more with them.

Films

  • classroom - films can be played as part of a course as long as they are being used for instructional use only; this doesn't cover recreational use as with sound recordings.
  • copying of films - as with music, copies can only be made for the specific educational purpose outlined above. Lecturers can't put film clips on the BLE or elsewhere as this would constitute copying (unless special permission has been sought).
  • copying of extracts from films/making available through BLE - lecturers may be able to do this under the exception for 'criticism and review' in copyright law. But they should only use short extracts and they should be necessary to support the criticism or review (ie not just for the sake of having one).
  • copyright in films expires 70 years after the death of the last of the principal director, author of the screenplay, author of the dialogue, composer of music specially created for the film. 

Broadcasts

  • the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) licences the use of broadcasts of the BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5. The School has one of these licences which is administered by the IT and Media Services department.
  • Broadcasts recorded from these channels can be used in classrooms under the licence for instruction only. It is not advised to make them available in full through the BLE.
  • Extracts from any broadcast can generally be copied and used for the purposes of criticism and review. As with film, extracts should be used sparingly and should actively support the arguments being made.

For advice about copyright issues, please contact the Information Compliance Manager (copyright@soas.ac.uk).