The following copyright scenario was shared…

We have a faculty member that has several older VHS tapes of stuff she has bought in ht epast, not recorded off the TV etc. and want to put them on DVD. She clams that they are either no longer available or not available on DVD. What is the legality of doing such. Violate copyrights yes or no?

The person who asked the question, after receiving various responses, finally posted the following in response to his own question:

Well folks after lots of research, advice and expert opinions (including Dr. Carol Simpson) here is the answer, kind of.
If the VHS video is available on DVD then it is probably a violation, If the VHS video is NOT available on DVD AND the equipment is cannot be purchased on the commercial marketplace then under DMCA the transfer can be made to another format. VHS players are available at Walmart and other places and pretty cheap.
Below is an excerpt of Dr. Simpson’s reply concering other issues of the process:
If the video is not available in the format you wish, and the copy you have is deteriorating, the library can make an archival backup in the format you wish, but the copy may not leave the library.

Just because something is out of print does not give automatic permission to copy. In fact, the purchase was probably under “life of tape” rights, which means you get that one shot at it. If it broke, too bad — buy another. If you take good care of it and it lasts 20 years, you can use it for 20 years as long as you have the technology to play it. But since video is usually very topical, a producer may not wish to have the program live beyond its usefulness and accuracy. It is the producer’s (or copyright owner’s) right to take the program off the market and let it die as the copies die.
And on another note, I’m currently updating my video rights page, and virtually every producer rejects transfer rights. They do not want to see their videos digitized, either to DVD or streaming server. They sell those rights and those copies, with the addition of digital rights management technology that helps to prevent additional duplication beyond the license with the program.”
Basically to copy the tape is a violation of the copyright. Libraries can make copies but they cannot leave the library. Archival copies might be able to be made. So in my opinion, for what it is worth, if you want to open the district and possibly yourself to civil liabilities good ahead make the copy. I have decided I will have no part of it.

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