Don't Copy From that DVD -- Yet

The teachers at my school frequently use short video clips in class to illustrate key concepts. However, they’re finding that when they attempt to take a clip from a DVD, there is a block that stops them. Isn’t this permissible under fair use?

Yes, fair use does allow teachers to use short clips from copyrighted materials for instructional purposes. Unfortunately, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 offers extra protection for digital media, making it illegal in most instances to circumvent digital locks, even when the intended use is permissible under law. Although the entertainment industry argues that removing blocks will lead to increases in piracy, three members of Congress recently introduced a bill that, if passed, will permit the copying of digital materials for educational use and research.

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