Contacting Video Owner, even under Fair Use?

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    • #86586

      I’m from a robotics club in a public college that is starting a video interview series with professors at our school. We’re new to filming and editing videos, and we’ve run into a disagreement that we would like some more expert opinions on.

      Our videos with professors will generally be 4-5 minutes long, and the audio is just them talking. To make the videos visually more interesting, we figured we could find videos relevant to what the professor is saying and overlay them while the professor is talking. These overlaid clips would last 5-10 seconds. These clips would be mostly from published research, news clips, large company videos, etc.

      Our club is officially associated with our college and we are doing this for purely educational and informational purposes. We know that we can use any video we can find online because of fair use law. Some people in our group feel that we should still contact the creators of the videos (relevant departments in Fox Network, Lexus, etc) to get permission to use their videos, not because we need it legally, but because it’s expected of us. We’ve emailed them but most of them haven’t gotten back to us yet, and we’re not sure if it’s morally accepted in the video-making community to use those videos.

      Here’s my question: is it standard or expected for educational groups to get explicit permission from copyright owners to use clips from their videos in our video? The more perspectives from the video community we can get, the better. Thanks!

    • #212957

      I’m not an attorney, but your statement that “We know that we can use any video we can find online because of fair use law” is pretty far off the mark. If you’re doing interviews on a college server, and none of what you do goes out on the web, you may be o.k. in your assumption. However, if your series is to go public I’d be very careful, as both You Tube and Vimeo make take down your materials.
      I suggest you look at a document produced for students at Stanford University by the Stanford Library, and follow the several links on this page. There is quite a lengthy and enlightening discussion of the subject here. (
      If the material you’re using does fall under “fair use” you won’t need to obtain permission to use it, or contact the copyright holder. However, credits at the end of each segment, acknowledging the sources, would be a good idea, just as you would if you were quoting sources in a term paper.

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