Copyright at Babson

The information presented here is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

May I make a copy of a television program?

Key points for recording of television broadcast programming for educational purposes:

  • A broadcast program may be recorded off-air and retained bya nonprofit educational institution for no longer than 45 calendar days after date of recording. After this time, all recordings must be erased or destroyed immediately.
  • Off-air recordings may be used once by individual teachers in the course of relevant teaching activities and repeated once for reinforcement during the first 10 school days following the airing. .
  • After the first 10 school days, recordings may only be used for evaluation purposes, and not in the classroom.
  • Recordings need not be used in their entirety, they may not be edited or altered from their original content. 
  • All copies of off-air recording must include the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded.

(Based on the 1979 "Guidelines for Off-Air Recording of Broadcast Programming for Educational Purposes," contained in the House Report on Piracy and Counterfeiting Amendments (H.R. No. 495, 97th Cong., 1st Sess. at 8-9), as well as the Supreme Court decision in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984).)

May I use a television program outside the classroom?

Unless such use falls under the auspices of fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Can I use a television program in the classroom?

For Faculty:
Check at the source to determine copyright permission if outside the initial time period. As an example, see the PBS  web site:

Look on the web site for the legal and copyright information.

May I place a copy of a television program on Blackboard?

To comply with the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia when using Blackboard, you should:

  1. Make sure you have permission to use the portions of copyrighted material you have selected for this specific course.
  2. Put the copyrighted material in a section of your Blackboard course site that is secured (using Course Settings: Area Availability in the Control Panel). This should meet the distribution requirement, because only students enrolled in your course will have access to that area.
  3. Use Quicktime Streaming for audio and video, rather than uploading the files for students to download. (Contact the Curriculum Innovation & Technology Group, for information and assistance.)
  4. Since Blackboard course sites are web-based, it is not possible for the technology to prevent copies of other materials from being made. Therefore, copyrighted material could be made available (using the Availability option on your content) for no more than a 15-day period, and your students should be instructed to not make their own copies of the material. If you have any questions about compliance, contact the copyright holder

In most cases, this should comply with the Congressional guidelines on fair use.

Adapted from a Blackboard Tip Sheet on Copyright, Fair Use & Educational Multimedia FAQ.

For assistance, contact your library liaison.