it’s basi©

As you may have noticed, it’s Movie Week here at Exploring College Ministry. But today is also Friday, which means it’s time for a movie-related Fridea!

This one may be a little bit of a downer. But if doing right is always doing best – we teach our students that! – then this Fridea is as applicable as any method or “Best Practice” I could put before you.

The Fridea?

Obey copyright law (like with movies).

Did you know it’s usually illegal – like really, truly against the law – to show a DVD in a big, public college ministry setting without a license? Doesn’t matter if you’re charging; doesn’t matter if you’re doing it for the sake of ministry or education. It’s wrong.

Since it’s movie week, movies are the focus. But I could just as easily discuss the rules about music or TV or computer software or the many other things that are copyrighted. Pictures on the internet are usually copyrighted, too, which is why I have to be selective about the pictures I use on the blog. Having a © sign or an FBI Warning isn’t required for something to be copyrighted, either.

I get it. The rules are annoying, I agree. They’re quite restrictive. They’ve kept me – many times – from doing what I wanted to in a campus ministry activity. In fact, they came to mind only after I had half-written today’s Fridea; as it turns out, I would have been encouraging a lot of people to break the law. Bummer. And while there’s definitely room under “fair use” for implementing copyrighted materials in a college ministry, the “fair” in “fair use” is determined by law, not by us.

A great explanation for the movie rules – AND how to get licenses – can be found over at Kansas State’s site. (Of course, it’s a sad day if college campuses are following the law-of-the-land more closely than their campus ministries.)

I realize that this is not popular to talk about, and that probably some of you like me less after reading this. I’m sure not trying to hold it over anybody’s head or play “holier than thou” games. But I’d be remiss if I never mentioned this, because in our field it comes up an awful lot. It’s not legalism. Just legal.

And of course, this gives you permission to hold me accountable. Do it. Do it.


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One Comment

  1. This kind of stuff is why we need to encourage our students to license their own work under Creative Commons licenses that are substantially more rational.

    Talking about “intellectual property” with students is a good idea, particularly with regard to ways that Christians can buck with the system with copyleft-type licenses that encourage generosity rather than than control.

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