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UCLA Will Resume Streaming Video After Legal Dispute

The University of California at Los Angeles has restored its streaming video service about two months after temporarily suspending the service amid complaints from an educational-media trade group.

The Association for Information and Media Equipment told UCLA in the fall that the university had violated copyright laws by letting instructors use the videos, some of which were full-length productions. UCLA decided that beginning this semester it would suspend the password-protected video-streaming service, available only to students in specific classes.

UCLA announced Wednesday that it will restart streaming of instructional content. The university hopes material will be back up by the spring quarter, which begins March 29. L. Amy Blum, senior campus counsel for UCLA, says the university wants to take steps to ensure that faculty members explicitly say why they are using the copyrighted material.

Current copyright law allows exceptions for research and teaching, including permitting instructors to use audiovisual material in face-to-face courses. The university believes it is protected by those exceptions and the Teach Act, which allows limited use of copyrighted materials for online education.

The information association, or AIME, argues those exclusions do not apply. UCLA and the association had discussions to try to resolve the situation, but the university made the decision to begin using its video-streaming service again independently.

“The message that UCLA sent AIME and all its members is that they and literally every other university have every right to buy a single copy of a video and stream it to an unlimited number of students forever without permission or compensation to the creator,” said the association’s counsel, Arnold P. Lutzker, in a statement to The Chronicle. “Given that message, AIME members will retain their right to move against UCLA and others that we are investigating.”

Mr. Lutzker declined further comment on other institutions the trade group might be investigating.

UCLA spends about $45,000 each year on instructional media and began converting faculty- requested titles to a streamable format in 2005.

Robin L. Garrell, a UCLA chemistry professor and chair of the Academic Senate, said it is too soon to tell if faculty members who use videos will change their syllabi to again include streaming videos. But she said the ability to use streaming videos has been beneficial for students, who might have trouble reaching the university’s media lab at a specific time set to view materials.

“As you can imagine, in Los Angeles, a five-mile commute might be a one-hour commute. So this is really important for our students, so they can manage their time,” Ms. Garrell said.

 

 

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