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Workshop: BFI archive

Hazel MIngrey19 September 2017

Some rights reserved CC BY-NC https://www.flickr.com/photos/practicalowl/4938047296/ ; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Celuloid secrets by Kit

 

Calling film and media students, and teaching staff!  Copyright issues around re-using audiovisual material are complex, particularly in student assessment such as film essays: this free, October workshop could help you in your studies or teaching.

Run by the BFI, Learning on Screen and Kingston School of Art, this half-day workshop will explore the creative use of archive material, for Higher Education studies.

Participants will raise their awareness of copyright considerations in re-using archival moving-image works, and consider creative and pedagogic approaches to using this kind of material.

The workshop also marks the launch of an initiative to open up the BFI archive to student film makers, and a recent pilot scheme using BFI archive material will be presented.

Attendance is free but registration required. 18 October 2017, 11.00 – 14.00 at the BFI Southbank. Full details  are on the Learning on Screen website.

 

Star Trek but not as we know it

Chris JHolland16 December 2016

Fans of the well known TV series may be interested to read up on a current copyright case before the Central District of California Court. Follow the link to the 1709 Blog for a full account of the case:  Paramount v. Axanar The Ars Technica Blog also covers the case here. The defendents are producing a short film which is a prequel to the Star Trek series. The work in question is intended as a mockumentary by the producers who are firm Star Trek fans. It is not they say designed to compete with anything produced by the rights owners of the original series. Axanor are also working on a longer film in a similar vein.

The plaintiffs on the other hand claim that the mockumentary infringes their copyright as an unauthorised derivative work and cannot be regarded as sufficiently “transformative” to be covered by the US doctrine of “fair use” (although the latter is much wider in scope than the more familar UK concept of “fair dealing”).  Neither can it be justified as a parody in their view.

Possible topics to be discussed include: What constitutes fan art,  how far fictional characters are protected by copyright and whether having “pointy ears” might be a protected characteristic.

TV and radio in teaching: Box of Broadcasts

Hazel MIngrey1 August 2016

bob logo

In a previous post I mentioned UCL’s CLA licence for digitising course readings. UCL holds several other licences useful for teaching: take advantage of them to deliver imaginative teaching to your students. They can also simplify complex copyright issues.

The ERA (Educational Recording Agency) licence is for recording broadcast TV and radio for educational purposes. There is a helpful ERA licence booklet; however it is even easier to avoid the paperwork and head straight to Box of Broadcasts (BoB).

BoB makes the best use of our ERA licence, with no administrative fuss: no record-keeping, recording from the TV or labelling of DVDs. It is similar to on-demand streaming services like the BBC iPlayer or 4oD, but across 65 channels, you can request programmes, and it is for educational purposes only.  You can provide students with a link to a full programme, a clip you can create yourself, or to whole playlists you have created. We encourage adding the links into your online reading list for the best experience for students.

If you already use BoB in your teaching you will have had an email notifying you of the summer upgrade, which will be complete by September. Watch a short promotional video to see the improvements outlined in 60 seconds. These include:

  • Improved video quality
  • A platform which works across all devices
  • Better searching capabilities
  • Better programme coverage and automatic requesting with a permanent archive of all programme content from 9 channels (BBC1 London/BBC2 London/BBC4/ITV London/Channel 4/More 4/ Channel 5/BBC Radio 4/BBC Radio 4 Extra)
  • Better thumbnail previews on search results
  • Email alerts when a requested programme is ready to view
  • More detailed citation data

Please note that during the upgrade the full archive may not be available, however everything will back as usual by September.

BoB is powered by Learning on Screen, the British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council (formerly BUFVC) which has interesting resources relating to teaching with moving image. UCL also holds a membership to this body.

Follow BoB on Twitter: @OnDemandBoB

 

Teaching & Learning Services: for ReadingLists@UCL, digitised course readings and copyright support.

Batmobile protected by copyright

Chris JHolland14 October 2015

This is a recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit in the  case of  DC Comics v. Mark Towle. Mark Towle supplied full size replica Batmobiles and also kits to make your car look like the Batmobile through his business, Garage Gotham.

DC Comics claimed that Mr Towle had infringed their copyright in the Batmobile as portrayed in the well known comics and television series. Holy copyright law, Batman! (to quote Judge Ikuta’s Opinion).

The court held that the Batmobile was a sufficiently distinctive element of the works (which are themselves protected by copyright) to qualify for copyright protection. The Opinion contains detailed discussion of the traits which help to qualify a character in a comic book or film for copyright protection under US law. Essential reading for Batman fans.

 

Film Clubs

Chris JHolland1 August 2014

Once in a while a group of UCL students and/ or staff suggests starting a film club. Films could be shown on the premises, free of charge to people who choose to join the club, perhaps films with a departmental interest or popular feature films.

Great idea, but first there are the copyright and licensing hurdles. Among the acts restricted by copyright is the performance of works, including film, without permission of the copyright owners.

There is an exception for showing film for “the purposes of instruction” in Section 34 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This would not cover showing a film for entertainment or any other purpose outside the teaching context. It is clear that a film club would not be covered.

There is a licensing solution, the Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL) from Filmbank . As cost is based on numbers of people “with access to the licensed premises”, it would not be practical to obtain a UCL wide licence, but individual departments could and sometimes do apply. Filmbank can also licence one-off showings. You may also need a licence from PRS to cover playing the musical soundtracks.

The repertoire licensed by Filmbank covers a range of major film studios, listed on their web site. Many well known feature films would be covered. If your interests are more specialised Filmbank may not be very relevant. If the films are outside the repertoire you will be infringing copyright  even armed with your Filmbank licence. It may come down to seeking permission for each film.

A Different Educational Exception

Chris JHolland16 July 2014

Having blogged about the fair dealing exception for copying for the purposes of instruction (updated Section 32 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), it may seem confusing to introduce yet another exception for “Copying of extracts by educational establishments”, but there it is, the revised CDPA, Section 36. The distinctive features are:

  • No fair dealing test, defined limits instead, namely a maximum of 5% of a given work in any 12 months period for each institution.
  • Must be for instruction “for a non-commercial purpose”
  • Can only be used when there is no licence available to cover our use of the work in question.

Particular advantages:

  • We are explicitly permitted to upload the extracts onto a VLE (such as Moodle) by this exception, including remote access for UCL students not on the premises.
  • Covers any copyright work apart from broadcasts and stand-alone artistic works (such as photographs and paintings)
  • Offers an opening to use a work which is not covered by a licence. Examples would be a book which is excluded from the CLA licence by the publisher or an extract from any film, since there is currently no blanket licence available which would cover that usage.

This is an exception to be used with caution. In particular there may be difficulties in monitoring the limitation of 5% of a work in any 12 month period. In specific circumstances however it could prove very useful.  Extracts would be best added to an online reading list, using the Library’s Course readings service.

 

 

 

 

Teaching resources

Hazel MIngrey8 July 2014

Whilst Chris is unpacking the new amendments to the CDPA to explain how it will affect UCL teaching and learning, we have also been looking at the other side of the coin: resources which can be used in teaching.  Below are two resources that can be linked to for educational purposes, without infringing copyright. Neither are copyright-free or in the public domain, however they allow specific usage that can be fantastically useful in teaching.

BoB National: Box of Broadcasts

Teaching staff were very enthusiastic about this during a successful trial, and UCL has now taken a subscription.  BoB gives access to 60+ TV and radio channels.  You can request programmes you have missed, ‘record’ upcoming programmes and create clips.  These are saved to BoB indefinitely, for all BoB users to view.

To log in select ‘UCL’ from the institutions list, and use your usual UCL ID and password.  There are video tutorials or you can just start browsing.

  • You can: view, share, and create clips.
  • You cannot: view from outside the UK. Download or store on your computer.

British Pathe Archive

This newly available resource is open access; that is, it is available online to view for free.  British Pathe has had its entire collection digitised under a National Lottery grant and this is now available via their YouTube channel.

This archive makes available film clips from significant global historical events, including first and second World Wars, the Hiroshima bombing, Suffragette action and footage of the Titanic.  There is footage of the first mobile phone (1922) and features on travel, fashion and celebrities.

  • You can: view and share the film clips (e.g. using the Twitter / Facebook etc. ‘share’ buttons).
  • You cannot: play in the classroom, or download and store.  Pathe advertisements are included.

Open access resources are especially useful for teaching on open online courses (such as UCL eXtend, or CPD courses), where students are not registered at UCL and therefore unable to access UCL-subscribed resources.  Do make sure the links are stable for your students, and perhaps consider using ReadingLists@UCL to keep links to your teaching resources in one place.

 

Using film stills

JuneHedges7 July 2011

Yesterday we received a query from a colleague wanting to use an image  from the film Apocalypto (2006) to illustrate their research on a departmental website. Making use of a still from a film in this way does require permission from the copyright owner as it involves republishing the image on a public site and so is not covered by fair dealing exemptions relating to criticism and review. The issue with this query was more how to track down the rights owner to obtain the permission.

The film was made by Touchstone Pictures, which is part of the Disney. Much searching of the Disney website turned up only a general email contact for press related enquiries, to which a speculative email was sent, and a postal address for the Disney Rights in Burbank, California. Much to our surprise a response arrived from the Clearance Administrator for the Walt Disney Company advising that rights to the film were owned by Icon Distribution, so a request was made to them for permission and we await their response.

Along the way though, I discovered a very helpful resource for tracing rights for US materials: http://cocatalog.loc.gov And a great deal of information about US copyright on the US Copyright Office webpages: http://www.copyright.gov/