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Screening Policy


This memo and the policy described below are intended to remind us all that allowing anyone other than the students enrolled in a class, and those involved in the instruction of a class, to attend a screening of a video or film assigned to the class may violate copyright law, unless the film or video has been approved by the copyright holders for public performance. This is so even if no fee is charged for attending. In order to assist you in complying with the law, the College has established the following policies and procedures.

  1. Screenings must take place in a classroom setting, either in the classroom where the class regularly meets or in some other academic facility on campus.

  2. Schedules of screenings should not be listed in any publication, print or electronic, with a primary audience other than the students in the class. Examples of outlets where screenings should not be posted include the Bowdoin Sun, the Faculty-Staff Digest, the Bowdoin Orient, and departmental or program listings of events, among others.

  3. Similarly, such screenings should not be publicly announced to audiences other than the class for which the film or video is assigned.

  4. Posting of screenings on the web is permitted, as long as the posting appears only on a page associated with the class for which the film or video is assigned, and is accompanied by a statement that, in accordance with copyright law, screenings are not open to the public.

  5. Similarly, if faculty include listings of film and video screenings in course syllabi or other materials, such listings should be accompanied by a statement that, in accordance with copyright law, screenings are not open to the public.

  6. Films and videos shown to a class must be for educational purposes related to that class, and cannot be for recreational or entertainment purposes.

Please note that our concern and these conditions apply to videos and films that faculty assign to a class. It is entirely appropriate (and encouraged!) to publicize showings of films and videos that are presented by Bowdoin Film Society and Bowdoin Cable Network. These groups are required to secure rights to public performance for all material shown. Also, please note that while some copies of films and videos include a clear statement that they are not approved for public performance, most do not. One cannot interpret the lack of such a statement on any given film or video as meaning that it is approved for public performance.

Finally, all of this assumes that videos and films that are assigned to classes have been acquired through legal methods of purchase or copying, and that no special restrictions upon their use have been imposed in any contract. If you have any questions regarding appropriate methods for acquiring videos and films, or restrictions on their use, please contact the individuals listed below.

To summarize, please follow these simple steps when showing films or videos in your classes:

  • State on course syllabi, materials and web sites that screenings are not open to the public;

  • Do not publicize screenings outside of the relevant class;

  • Show only films or videos that have been acquired legally.

For questions about publicity for films and videos, please contact Carmen Greenlee (x3286; ), Instructional Media Services Librarian or Judy Montgomery (x3749; ), Associate Librarian. Guidelines for ordering videos for the library collection are available here. Departments sponsoring public performances of videos or films must seek permission from the film’s distributing agent. Carmen Greenlee will be glad to provide assistance in identifying copyright holders.

These guidelines are available on the Library Gateway and the Language Media Center web site and will soon be accompanied by more detailed information about copyright law as it pertains to instructional use of film and video.