Copyright Policy for streamed delivery of digital video/DVD


Indiana University instructors use sound recordings, texts, and still and moving image materials in their teaching.  These forms of media are used in physical classrooms, and are also used by students for review and further study outside the classroom.  Many of the audiovisual materials used in teaching are held in the Herman B Wells Media Services department.  Students enrolled in certain courses rely on the Library to provide access to this important material.

With the growth of computing technology, faculty and students increasingly expect that their primary media access tool will be a desktop computer.  The Wells Library Digital Library Program and Media Services  interprets the fair use clause of the United States Copyright Law, section 107, to allow for digitization and networked delivery of audio and video materials owned by the library under certain circumstances.  The parameters of this service and a discussion of fair use follows:


Media Services will digitize complete video recordings or portions of recordings if:

  1. The title is licensed by Indiana University Bloomington Libraries. A list of licensed databases and titles is available at:
  2. The teaching instructor obtains written permission from the copyright holder to digitize a film governed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (see Sample Permission Letter below).
  3. The title is in VHS format and an equivalent DVD copy is not commercially available at a reasonable cost.
  4. The item requested by a teaching faculty member or instructor is in support of an Indiana University Bloomington course.
  5. The item is owned by the Wells Libraries Media Services department or by the teaching instructor, such as a class lecture or presentation.
  6. The streamed media link is password protected.
  7. The digitized, streamed media file resides on a server that is controlled and monitored by library staff.

Media Services will not digitize entire titles borrowed from another institution via Interlibrary Loan, rented from a commercial video store, or personal copies. At its discretion, Media Services may make only short clips from such titles available in digital form.

Fair use

Following Indiana University’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning “Fair use:  Borrowed and Captured Media,” we offer the following analysis of four fair use factors: (

  1. Purpose: These materials are being used in teaching, by a non-profit educational institution, and access is restricted to the students in a particular course. We believe our use weighs in favor of a fair use interpretation for this factor.
  2. Nature: Some of the works are factual but some are dramatic or literary, all are published, and all are important to a favored educational objective. We believe our use is neutral for this factor.  
  3. Amount: We are often digitizing a large portion of or the entire work, however the amount is appropriate to the use the faculty member has stated is necessary for the favored educational purpose. We believe our use is neutral for this factor.
  4. Market Effect: The copy must have been lawfully acquired by the library or the faculty, only one copy is made for streaming purposes (or a few copies if multiple quality versions are needed to support different technical capabilities of our
  5. users), we are not making the streamed versions available beyond a small audience, and a reasonable licensing mechanism does not exist. We believe our use weighs in favor of a fair use interpretation for this factor.

DVD digitization and the DMCA

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by the United States Congress and signed into law in 1998, prohibits the manufacture, sale, and use of technologies that circumvent access control technologies. The DMCA was recently modified to allow for the circumvention of a DVD for those instructors engaged in teaching film study courses. Libraries and educational institutions have struggled to understand how the DMCA, in both a legal and a practical sense, affects fair use, and, specifically, to interpret this part of the law as it pertains to DVDs. Many commercial DVDs are encrypted with a technology called a Content Scrambling System (CSS), which requires a licensed DVD playback device to access and view the video contents.  

Digitizing a video title can be broken down into two steps and two separate acts: accessing the video content, and making a copy of the contents. For the first step,  Media Services employs the same readily available, licensed DVD players and analog video connections that are used for in home viewing. The act of access, therefore, cannot be said to be making an unauthorized circumvention of the CSS access control technology. The video signal accessed is unscrambled by legitimate means. Whether or not the second act, the making of a copy, violates any part of copyright law that existed before or after the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), is addressed in the fair use discussion, above, because the DMCA specifically states: “Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title.”(section 1201(c)(1)). 

The IUB Libraries encourages faculty to seek written permission from the copyright holder, or licensed provider prior to the digitization of DVDs encrypted with CSS. 

DVD digitization and the TEACH Act

Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act, 2002

The TEACH Act expands upon Performance and Display exemption of the US Copyright Act 110(2) which references the ability to distribute and display amounts comparable to face-to-face teaching.  Faculty and students will often want to incorporate some or all of the copyrighted work of others into course materials that are to be digitized and transmitted for distance education.  In the past, this could be sometimes lawfully accomplished via the fair use provisions (17 U.S.C.107) and/or the performance/display exemptions (917 U.S.C. 110(2)) of the copyright act.  In November 2002, the performance and exemptions of the copyright act were revised and updated to address the digital environment.  The revised provisions facilitate digital educational use of materials without requiring copyright permission, subject to several conditions.  Restrictions and conditions are outlined on the website as posted above.

Miscellaneous Guidelines

  • Eligible requests will be processed Monday – Friday, 8:00a.m to 5:00p.m.  This will allow for the servers to handle nightly batch processing. All requests must be submitted online at:
  • Faculty and Instructors may request a maximum of five (5) titles per course, per semester.  A new request form must be submitted per semester for statistics & reporting purposes.
  • Teaching Faculty and Instructors will be responsible to obtain permission from the copyright holder if required.
  • This service is not offered to undergraduate students or staff members even if a teaching Faculty or Assistant Instructor member makes the request on their behalf.
  • Access to streaming titles in e-Reserves will become unavailable the day following the end of the current semester.


[Your Name]
1320 East Tenth Street
[Your Department]
Bloomington, IN 47405

[Rights holder name and address]

Dear [Sir/Madam or personal name, if known]:

Media Services in the Indiana University-Bloomington Herman B Wells Library wishes to provide limited streaming access to certain videos for educational uses. 

The Wells Library currently owns copies of these videos in DVD format in its collections.  The library is requesting permission to digitize the following material for streaming through e-Reserves.  These videos will be digitized by library staff and will be available only to the instructor(s) and students enrolled in the class for which the video is on reserve (more details of the security measures for e-Reserves is described below).  All resources on e-Reserves are clearly marked with a full bibliographic citation.  At the end of each semester, all material is removed from e-Reserves. 

The Herman B Wells Library would like to digitize the following material(s) from DVDs in the library collection:

[Citation with source information]

If you do not control the copyright on all of the above mentioned material, I would appreciate any contact information you can give me regarding the proper rights holder(s), including current address(es). Otherwise, your permission confirms that you hold the right to grant the permission requested here.

I would greatly appreciate your consent to my request. If you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at:

[Your contact information]

A duplicate copy of this request has been provided for your records. If you agree with the terms as described above, please sign the release form below and send one copy with the self-addressed return envelope I have provided.



[Typed name]


Permission granted for the use of the material as described above:

Agreed to: ______________________________________________

Name & Title: ____________________________________________

Company/Affiliation: ______________________________________

Date: __________________________________________________


Security measures taken to preserve the intellectual contents of the e-Reserves system


To be available via e-Reserves, a video would be selected for a specific class by the professor of that class.  The professors would fill out a request form for the video, and records of all requested material are kept by the library.  Once the material has been selected, it is streamed only to students of that class through an access controlled e-Reserves system.  The e-Reserves system is only used for educational purposes at Indiana University. 

The digital copy will be kept secure in IU's Massive Data Storage Service.  The storage area for these files is password-protected, and access to these files is very carefully restricted.  Video is streamed to users via RTMP from Adobe Flash Media Server 3. 

Access to the streaming video is secured with several authentication layers.  First, the system checks the "referring URL" of the HTTP request.  Access to each course page in the E-Reserves system is controlled by a course password given only to the course's instructor and students.  The streaming web application also requires that the user authenticate via IU's Central Authentication Service (CAS), to verify the user is a member of the IUB community.  Unauthorized users may not access the material even with the correct URL to the video.


Indiana University Bloomington Libraries

Media Services

Last updated 05-13-2015