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May a touchscreen smart board be used for story time in a public library?

As phrased, this is a technology question and not a copyright one. Use of the technology itself presents no problems on the copyright front. If one reproduces works to be displayed on the smart board, however, then the same issues are present as with photocopying or with displaying images. If the question contemplates displaying all of the words of the story on the screen to help with reading, including all of the text plus the illustrations, this is reproducing an entire work and probably is infringement. On the other hand, if permission is sought from the publisher, it is likely that permission would be granted.

A church's Sunday school teachers and youth director routinely rent videos for various programs, including childcare. What liability might a church or other nonprofit entity need to consider with regard to showing home videos? Is it similar to the liabilities for public schools, private schools, and daycare situations?

The exemption to the public performance right for the showing of videos is limited to face-to-face teaching in nonprofit educational institutions. Churches are not schools (even though it is called "Sunday school"). For-profit schools and daycare facilities are also not eligible for the exemptions. This is a public performance under the Copyright

Act and permission should be sought. It might well be granted with no royalties required.

Playing music recordings at dance schools is a very common practice. Should the school pay royalties for this? What about dance classes at a college? How does copyright apply to dance clubs with a disc jockey?

Sound recordings do not have public performance rights except for digital transmission of the recordings, but the musical compositions embodied on the recording do have performance rights. Educational institutions have an exception for the performance of musical works in the course of instruction under section 110(1) of the Copyright Act, so dance classes at a college are permitted to use recorded music as a part of instruction. Private dance schools that use music are not eligible for the exception, however, and must pay royalties to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) and SESAC Inc. for musical compositions registered with them. These royalties go to the composer. Dance clubs (nightclubs) also pay similar royalties for music performances.

What happens concerning performance licenses when a private nonprofit dance school holds its performances on a university or high school stage? Does it make a difference if the music for the performance is a sound recording rather than live music?

If the dance school has its own public performance license, then there is no problem. If the dance school does not have a license, it is likely that the performance license that the university or high school has covers all performances in its facilities, and the dance school performance thus is a licensed performance. While sound recordings have no public performance rights, the musical composition embodied in the recording does. So, a performance license provides coverage for the composer even for use of a sound recording.

A nonprofit organization purchased the performance rights for a play. During the performance, the play was video recorded. Who owns the copyright in the recordingthe playwright, the director, or the actors?

Whoever directed the recording to be made owns the copyright, and that might be the director or the videographer as director. The real issue though is whether a license to perform the play also grants the right to reproduce the performance. If the organization knows that it wants to video record performances, then it should request permission to do so at the time it negotiates a public performance license. It might be a fair use to make a single copy of the video that is used to critique the performance, but multiple copies should not be made and distributed without permission, regardless of whether that distribution is free or is done as a fundraiser for the organization.

 
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