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VHS to DVD Dubbing Issues

Release date: December 02, 2010

Goucher College, like so many colleges everywhere, is striving to adapt to and comply with current Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws. You may refer to the Goucher College Copyright Policy for detailed policy.


The Legalities:

Section 108 of the Copyright Code governs the application of copyright law to libraries and archives.  Section 108 provides that reproducing a VHS to DVD without the prior permission of the rights-holder does not qualify as a lawful reproduction unless the duplication is carried out solely for the purpose of replacement of a VHS tape that is damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, or if the existing format in which the work is stored has become obsolete (a 3/4" tape is obsolete because the equipment is no longer being sold, but a VHS tape is generally not considered to be obsolete). In addition, the VHS tape must not be available in DVD format and, if a copy is made, the resulting DVD must be maintained on the library premises as an archival item. To read more about this, click here.

If you cannot meet the Section 108 conditions, the reproduction of the VHS film, or a portion thereof, to DVD format may nevertheless constitute Fair Use under Section 107 of the Copyright code. At Goucher, we have a Fair Use Committee that will determine if your proposed copying of the VHS tape constitutes fair use and is therefore permissible.  Factors that would affect the fair use determination include the portion of the tape that is to be dubbed, whether a DVD is already available on the market and how difficult it is to obtain permission from the producer of the VHS tape to copy the tape. If the DVD is not available and it is difficult to obtain permission, and if only a portion of the tape is being copied, these factors would weigh in favor of fair use.

If the committee determines that the proposed use constitutes fair use and you use the material in the proposed way, you will be defended by the college in the event that a copyright infringement action is brought against you. In the event the committee determines that your proposed use does not constitute Fair Use, and you decide to use the material anyway, or if you choose not to consult with the committee, the college will not indemnify you in the event that you are sued for copyright infringement.

If you would like the Fair Use Committee to give you a determination about your proposed copying from VHS to DVD format, please send an email to Barbara Stob (bstob@goucher.edu) and she will forward your request to the Committee.

The Practicalities:

At the present time, neither the CTLT nor the library has sufficient staff to perform the dubbing function for you. If you would like to receive instruction in dubbing, please contact CTLT. Please be sure that the dubbing has been approved by the Fair Use Committee.

Of course you may also contact the Registrar's office to determine if a room with VHS equipment is available for the screening of your film.

                                                                    Goucher College Legal Dept.

                                                                    December 2010

Other Resources:

The Association of Research Libraries has published several excellent resources to help faculty and staff negotiate the complexities of copyright. 

Know Your Copy Rights: What You Can  Do (PDF brochure)
A 2007 Brochure Aimed at Faculty and Teaching Assistants

Among the topics covered in the brochure are: fair use, the advantage of linking to instead of copying works, and special provisions for displaying or performing works in classes. The brochure also includes a one-page chart that highlights 24 situations when various categories of works can be used.

Using Copyrighted Works in Your Teaching: FAQ:
Questions Faculty and Teaching Assistants Need to Ask Themselves Frequently.