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Kevin Smith Inaugural ViTaL Meeting: “Do You Own Your Videos?”

By: Todd Stabley

I was pleased to be able attend the inaugural meeting of the new Videos in Teaching & Learning (ViTaL) interest group some of you may have heard about through the Digital Media Community and other lists. OIT’s Libby Evans, the production lead in the Duke Digital Initiative (DDI), kicked off this group, and has a full agenda for this fall you can check out at the bottom of this post.

For today’s meeting, Kevin Smith, M.L.S., J.D., Duke’s Scholarly Communications Officer and resident legal expert at Duke on all things copyright, gave an excellent and informative talk entitled “Do You Own Your Videos?



Among the interesting information Kevin shared, I noted the following. If anyone else who attended the meeting has additional notes I can add, please send them to me and I’ll edit this post to include them:

  • Joint authorship –copyright is shared equally among all “authors.” Even if one of them only contributed 2%, they own an equivalent share in the copyright as the other authors. If you are a joint author, you have the legal right to pursue your stake in the copyright (i.e. sell), even if you don’t have the explicit permission or even the knowledge of the other joint authors.
  • There is a concept called “immediate classroom content” that  includes things like class recordings. Duke’s IP policy creates a “royalty-free” license for students to make appropriate scholarly uses of immediate classroom content, which means that an instructor could not sell copies of lectures to Duke students. This content essentially can be considered “Work for Hire.”

  • Extra materials such as supplemental instructional modules a faculty member creates for a course, or even materials such as PPT slides, etc., do NOT fall under the category of “immediate classroom content.”

  • Faculty have the right to consent to or forbid recording of their lectures

  • In Kevin’s experience Duke approaches negotiations over ownership of materials  in good faith and isn’t looking to deprive faculty or other members of the Duke community of the right to benefit from materials they create

  • Even though you don’t legally have to, you should put a copyright notice with contact info online–this makes it much easier if you later have to prove copyright infringement

  • You should also put up something telling people what they can /can’t do with your work. I.e., Creative Commons

  • To support fair use you should show your use is “transformative”

Kevin listed 3 criteria for a use to be considered “transformative”:

    • Does it make my new point
    • Will it help others understand my new point
    • Does it use no more than needed to make my new point

At the end of the talk Kevin encouraged folks to take advantage of Fair Use, since it really is an unlikely scenario that a faculty member would be sued for the improper use of copyrighted content for their course, especially if the fair use principles listed above are thoughtfully applied. Kevin also noted that members of the Duke community should feel free contact him with any questions about particular projects you are involved in that involve copyright issues and questions. To contact Kevin, and for more information about the Scholarly Communications Office and its work at Duke, you can visit his blog here:


ViTaL Fall Meeting Series

October 17: “Where Can I Go for Video?”

There are a number of places on the Duke campus that support video needs. Members of this panel will give a brief description of the services that are available to you (free or fee) through their organizations so you can identify the ones that might be able to help you get a project started or finished. You’ll be able to hear about DukeCapture (Todd Stabley), the Multimedia Project Studios (MPS) (Jack D’Ardenne), Duke Media Services (Scott Wells), the Center for Instructional Technology (Randy Riddle), and the Link (Erin Nettifee).


November 21: “Creating Videos Using a Laptop Kit

It is possible to create good quality lecture videos at your desk using some basic components. This session will describe the video kit Duke faculty have used to create videos for Coursera MOOCs and how it can be used to capture, audio, video, and presentation slides. A new video service will be announced during this meeting, so be sure to come hear about a new option you will have for creating video!


December 19: Book Chapter Discussion

At this meeting, between fall and spring semesters, we’ll have a journal club-style discussion about this book chapter:

Applying the Science of Learning to Multimedia Instruction” by Richard E. Mayer in Psychology of Learning and Motivation (Chapter 3): (You should be able to link directly to the article if you’re on the Duke network.)

Read (or at least scan) the chapter before the meeting and bring your questions and comments to the discussion.




Don’t be afraid to do it, K says! Most often will be supported by fair use

K doesn’t know of a single instance where an individual faculty member has ever been sued over fair use

Categories: DDMC Info

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