Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rainy Days and Disney

Here's another interesting question posted by a classmate:

Can schools show non-educational movies to students as a "reward" or as an indoor recess activity?

Here's what I found:

If the school or library owns the tape/DVD and they have purchased or received PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS with the tape/DVD, then they can show the movie for whatever purpose they want.

If they don't own public performance rights , then legally they can only show it in curricular situations. Some schools purchase an "umbrella license" which allows them to show non-educational films and videos from lists of producers.

I thought that was interesting. I don't think teachers give it much thought as to whether or not their school has purchased the performance rights. In many schools, it's really up to the media specialist to keep on top of this.


Cloudscome said...

This is really interesting. I didn't know about purchasing performance rights for commercial movies. I know we do it for music that the music teacher buys for the kid's performances. We are an independent school so the kids pay tuition and I was under the impression that we were not allowed to show commercial movies (Disney, etc.) for that reason. I'll be interested to keep reading your blog and learn more.

The Lewis Family said...

We can't show any videos that haven't been approved by the school board and are related to the curriculum. Therefore, those rainy day movies or movies used as a reward do not exist in our district. It would be a waste of instructional time. I can remember viewing videos before a long break like Christmas or Easter, but in our district that is completely forbidden.

-Jamie Lewis

Julia Elloff said...

Our county has tried to ban showing movies as rewards or for holidays, but so far that's a rule that's not followed. I know many teachers who "sneak" in movies, although our county and administration did crack down last year to try to prevent it. The final say in our school was that we could only use movies that the county had an umbrella license for, and we could not show the movie all at once but it had to be shown in 1/2 hour increments. Question to pose though- what about using Disney movies for instrucional purposes? For example, my grade level does a Chris Van Allsburg fantasy unit- and teachers like to show Polar Express and Jumangi. I'm just curious what people think!

LibraryGirl said...

It seems like a lot of teachers watch movies that really don't have any educational content - although what is the definition of educational content - it seems like that could be very subjective. I never heard of purchasing performance rights either. Very interesting - thanks!

Erica said...

You've posted a great topic for discussion! I had never even considered this topic.

We have a "policy" for using television and movies within our program. However, it reflects how much the medium is used rather than what it uses. There is a verbal policy that any movies rated higher than "G" need to have parent permission before viewing.

Is it the same policy if the teacher owns the video/movie as when the library or school owns it?

Helen Weiss said...

Great question about using Disney or commercial movies for instructional purposes. From what I understand, the movie shown has to be directly related to the lesson at hand, not just related to some lesson a teacher has taught in the past or a lesson she/he is planning to teach. For example, your teachers couldn't show the movie Polar Express later in the semester if the class is no longer studying that unit. A good question to ask is if showing the movie is an integral part of the unit you are teaching. Teachers need to have a good correlation between lesson and movie. For example, showing the movie Dumbo when studying elephants would not be curriculum appropriate. There are more relevant materials that the teacher could select.

Simpson, C. (2005). Copyright For Schools: A Practical Guide. 4th Edition (p. 7). Worthington, OH: Linwoth Publishing, Inc.

Helen Weiss said...

Library Girl:
Please see the comment I just posted to Julia. I think it may answer your question about using movies for educational use.
Thanks for your comments!

Helen Weiss said...

You pose a great question! From what I have read, it doesn't matter if the movie is owned by the school or a teacher, as long as the source is legal. The issue is still whether or not you have public performance rights. If a teacher rents a video from Blockbuster, she would not be able to show it to her class unless it is directly related to a classroom lesson she is teaching. Blockbuster does not sell or rent public performance rights and so if it was not curriculum-related, she would not be able to use that movie for her class. If the school library had a copy of the same movie and have purchased performance rights, then she could show that movie for whatever purpose she wants.
Thanks for your question and comments!

Simpson, C. (2005). Copyright For Schools: A Practical Guide. 4th Edition (p. 78). Worthington, OH: Linwoth Publishing, Inc.

LeeAnn said...

That is very interesting. I had no idea that you had to purchase rights. I know of schools that will show a movie in the auditorium to a very large group of students...this cannot be ok.

Helen Weiss said...

It would be ok if the school had purchased performance rights.

J. Urick said...

Besides not knowing the facts about whether or not your school has rights to show these movies, is it really relevant to the curriculum? I guess I'm looking at this from a high school point of view because that's what setting I am in. We wouldn't be allowed to show these types of movies because of irrelevance to curriculum! I think you pose another point for educators; we are setting an example for students in following copyright laws as well as letting them know what's important in education!


Jessica Modrzejewski said...

Great topic..would like to see additional postings on this ..need an updated post (over two weeks old)..
Mrs. M.