Format Conversion and its impact on Copyright

Whether to Convert Your Old Format Media through Copying?

As BCC is adopting digital technology, faculty face challenges of integrating existing analog format media material with digital teaching equipment.  Technology is available to copy older format media such as transparencies, 35mm slides, laserdiscs, phonograph recordings, 16mm films and videos into digital files or onto a variety of digital discs (cd's, CD-ROM's, or dvd's).   

What are your considerations and best practices in the context of U.S. Copyright Law?

Section 107 Fair Use

Fair Use provides provisions for copying for teaching, scholarship, or research.  The following chart shows some factors to weigh in determining whether your use is fair. 

Commercially distributed audiovisual works generally receive less fair use consideration within the courts than do print works.  

Fair Use Factor

In favor of copying

Not in favor of copying

1.  Purpose and character of educational use



2.  Nature of copyrighted work

Fact based

Creative (art, films, plays)

3.  Amount or substantiality (heart of the work)

Clips or portions

Whole work

4.  Effect on the potential Market Value of the work

Not marketed


Digital copy available

Licensing is available

Permissions easily obtained

Remember to include the full copyright attribution/citation from the original on any copies which you decide to make!

Other Fair Use and Copyright resources: