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Video.edu: Library Alliance Defends Streaming, Yale Admissions Goes Viral

Here's a look at the latest online video news that directly affects educators, both K-12 and post-secondary.

Library Alliance Defends Educational Streaming of Copyrighted Video
Recently UCLA halted streaming of copyrighted video to students in response to copyright complaints from the Association for Information and Media Equipment (AIME). As schools and colleges await the results of negotiations between the two parties, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCL) has released an Issue Brief on the streaming of films for educational purposes that is sure to spark controversy. The brief’s authors conclude that provisions of copyright law could provide justification for streaming films, in part or in full, from course websites without obtaining specific permission or licensing content.

The authors find the strongest justification for streaming full educational films in several recent legal decisions on Fair Use. In these cases the defendants made use of entire print works—not video—that the courts found permissible because they had "repurposed and recontextualized" them. The authors argue that courts would treat uploading a feature film to a course website for student use as a similar repurposing, thus making such a use "fair." They go on to offer that "educators could buttress their fair use claim by recontextualizing works on course websites through selection and arrangement and the addition of background readings, study questions, commentary, criticism, annotation, and student reactions. "

The authors also contend that the TEACH Act, which already explicitly permits schools to stream a "reasonable and limited portion" of a legally obtained video under certain conditions, could be used to justify streaming entire films or videos.

These seem like bold pronouncements in the face of the apparently significant legal threat AIME has made to UCLA. It’s also likely that both educational and mainstream entertainment producers will be taking a critical eye to the LSL’s conclusions. The outcome of the UCLA-AIME dispute will provide schools with an indication of what producers might consider reasonable. But without either a specific legislation or a strong court decision the legal status of streaming full videos without permission in an educational context will continue to be both hazy and subject to debate.

Yale Admissions Video Goes Viral
When you think of a viral video, you don’t often conjure up a sixteen minute musical produced by a university admissions office. However, that’s only if you haven’t seen "That’s Why I Chose Yale," which has racked up over 400,000 views on YouTube since being posted on January 14, 2010.

College promotional videos often have a reputation for being dry, didactic, or ridiculously out of touch. The last such video I can remember going viral is the unintentionally hilarious "Appalachian State University is Hot Hot Hot," which has been watched over a million times.

What makes "That’s Why I Chose Yale" so different is that the entire piece was conceived, written, performed, and produced by Yale students and recent alumni. The piece starts off with a scene that should be familiar to any college-bound high school student or parents of the college-bound. A student guide finishes up a stereotypical information session full of bored-looking prospective students and parents. He takes standard questions until one particularly unconvinced student asks, "Why did you choose Yale?" Perhaps channeling the prime-time drama Glee or the High School Musical movies, in comes a tinkling piano as the guide breaks into a song. He passes off the lead to students in class and dorms, playing sports and engaged in a whole variety of college activities, who each take their turn for a few bars, until joining together for a rousing group chorus on a quad lawn.

The overall production is sophisticated and well done, employing elaborate sets and even crane shots. Combined with clever lyrics and a hummable tune, Yale has the makings for a video ready to go viral. Whether or not the video stimulates an increase in applications remains to be seen.

Just wait for the video response smackdown from Harvard.

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