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Acquiring Sources

Once you've selected items you're ready to purchase, it's time to focus on acquiring, cataloging, and processing materials.

There are few special considerations when working with audio and video sources. As you explore catalogs and online sources, verify that you're ordering the correct item. Frank Herbert's Dune is one of many films that has been remade a number of times. There's a 1984 theatrical release, the TV miniseries and miniseries director's cut. When ordering, be sure to get the correct edition. Also, be watchful of the particular DVD release. For example, the new Star Wars movie is available a dozen or more ways: SD, HD, extended, special edition, DVD, digital, collector's edition...

Video Subscription Services

Digital audio and video subscription services provide unique challenges for librarians, particular those involved with school libraries or public libraries in conservative neighborhoods.

When libraries purchase digital subscriptions, they often receive a set of pre-selected materials. Or, they may provide local access to state-wide resources. What happens when an item is challenged that's part of those larger collections? Maybe a parent is concerned about the use of profanity in a young adult audiobook that's available on OverDrive. Or, a local group wants to restrict access to a musician found in Freegal? Some subscription services allow local control over titles, while others provide no customization.

Explore information about a few of the following subscription-based video providers:

read!Try It!
Read the FAQs and resources for a few of the subscription-based video providers. Notice both their licensing information, the hardware and software needed, and LMS integration guidelines. They often have marketing materials too.

Enis, Matt (October 15, 2015). On demand. Library Journal, 45-47. Available through IUPUI.

Wahl, Mary (May 2016). Decisions, decisions: questions to consider when selecting video databases. Online Searcher. Available through IUPUI.

Licensing Considerations

Dealing with licenses in a growing area in library management. Let's explore the basics as well as some specific examples.

Duncan, Cheryl & Peterson, Erika Day (2014). Chapter 2: Licensing. Creating a Streaming Video Collection for Your Library. Creating a Streaming Video Collection for Your Library. Rodman & Littlefield. Available through IUPUI.

Each situation is different based on the library setting and user needs.

Gilbert, Mary & Ranadive, Mary (2014). ERM Ideas and Innovations: “ELicensing at Towson University: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 26(4), 271-279. Available through IUPUI.

Even if you're not dealing with licensed content, there are still consideration for collection development.

Duncan, Cheryl & Peterson, Erika Day (2014). Chapter 3: Nonlicensed Content. Creating a Streaming Video Collection for Your Library. Creating a Streaming Video Collection for Your Library. Rodman & Littlefield. Available through IUPUI.

Purchasing Media

When purchasing physical media such as CDs/DVDs or online subscriptions, it's important to know the companies involved. In some cases, libraries work directly with publishers, however in other cases librarians purchase through distributors.

For downloadable and streaming services, it's important to determine who actually owns the content and whether your library will be able to continue having access to the materials after the end of the subscription.

Audio and Video Producers

It's useful to know the major producers.

Audio Producers

People generally think of music when the topic of audio productions is raised. Today independent musicians of the Indie music movement have jumped into the Internet music arena. Indie musicians are not connected with a major recording label. With computer production capabilities and Internet promotion and sales, Indie music has made inroads into the market stranglehold of the major corporate music groups.

Although there are many producers of audio materials, Rhino Records is known for their wide range of nontraditional audio materials. From famous historical speeches and radio programs to popular artists, Rhino is known for buying the rights to reproduce older materials for new audiences. Keep them in mind when exploring interesting audio options.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group representing the United States recording industry. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute about 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the U.S.

Also in the production arena, there are music mash-ups, sometimes called remixes, bootlegs, blends, cutups or bastard pop and not-to-be confused with a website or web application that combines content from more than one source. A musical home brew of sorts, mash-ups are often illegal music (derivative works) created digitally by combining elements from the tracks of two or more songs -- melding them together to create a different piece of music.

Mash-up music is seen by some as an underground protest reaction to the copyright restrictions supported by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Some music mash-ups are permitted if the original music is licensed under a Creative Commons license or the amount and manner in which the music elements are used fits within the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia. In some mash-up instances, the original music source cannot be easily identified. The musical goal for a mash-up piece is to achieve a balanced blend of unique musical harmonies.

Video Producers

There are a large number of video producers from around the world. Many of the large studios have specific distributors that handle their video production. Some of these include 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Artisan Home EntertainmentColumbia TriStar Home EntertainmentDisney Home VideoMGM Home EntertainmentMiramax Home Video, and Warner Home Video. Producers specifically interested in informational, instructional, and educational video include PBSNational GeographicDiscovery ChannelBBC, and A&E Home Video. And large groups of producers cater specifically to education such as Environmental MediaHallmark EntertainmentNew Dimension MediaSchlessinger MediaSpoken ArtsWeston Woods Studios. Check Distributors List for Current Children's Notables from ALA's Association for Library Service to Children for ideas. Finally, many small, independent producers create and market their own materials. This is particular true of "how-to" instructional videos. Many of the most popular videos can be found at Amazon or Barnes and Noble and other mainstream online vendors. For titles specific to libraries and education try, vendors such as Library Video.

Audio and Video Publishers and Distributors

Explore the following websites of publishers and distributors.



Digital Subscription Services

Other Audio and Video Publishers and Distributors

Resources for the Audiobook Industry

Audio Publisher's Association

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress provides an extensive index of vendors / distributors of recorded materials for purchase, rental or loan.

Talent & Industry Guide: The Audiobook Industry's Sourcebook. The indispensable tool for audiobook professionals, librarians, and anyone wanting a comprehensive resource for the audiobook industry. Casting directors, producers, and publishers can search by name, specific vocal skills and dialects, listen to clips and find linked reviews of recent audobook work.


Audio and Video Vendors

Once you've identified those items you wish to purchase, it's time to identify a place where the items will be purchased.

Audio and Video Collections

Below you'll find links to some well-known vendors who sell and distribute audio and video materials.

Audio and Video Furnishings, Storage, and Supplies

The following suppliers can be helpful in providing audio and video supplies, storage containers, shelving and other furnishings:

AMIA Supplier Directory A Global Directory of Services and Suppliers of Audiovisual Media

Streaming Video

Who are the real players in streaming video?

Browse Schumacher-Rasmussen, Eric (October 2015). The 2015 Streaming Media 100. Streaming Media Magazine, 35-38. Available through IUPUI.


Once you've purchased items, you need to think about special considerations for processing materials.

de Groat, Greta (2015). A history of video game cataloging in U.S. libraries. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 53(2), 135-156. Available through IUPUI.

Bergman, Barbara; Schomberg, Jessica & Kurtz, Dorie (2016). Survey of classification and organization of videorecordings. Library Resources & Technical Services, 60(3), 156-168. Available through IUPUI.

Copyright Issues

From audiobooks to feature films, libraries house a wide variety of commercially produced materials. With easy access to digital recording devices, it's easy to duplicate materials. You need to know your rights and responsibilities.

Copyright Basics

All users should be aware of a few general points regarding the current copyright law. Copyright protection exists for all works created in any medium or format of expression as long as the work is fixed in a tangible form of expression so that it can be perceived or communicated, with or without the aid of equipment. Besides copying materials, the copyright law also involves issues such as licensing products and public performance rights.

It doesn't matter whether the resource is a videoclip from the Weather Channel online or a classic feature film like Old Yeller, the copyright applies to all materials.

Motion pictures, videos, DVDs, audios, and other materials are protected by U.S. Code: Title 17 - Copyrights. Unauthorized use or copying may be prohibited by law. Materials do not have to be registered or identified as being copyrighted material in order for copyright protection to apply. Persons are prohibited from duplicating copyrighted works unless the action is authorized by (a) specific exemptions in the copyright law, (b) the principle of fair-use, (c) the fair-use guidelines, and (d) licenses or written permission from the copyright owner.

All four broad criteria must be met in order to apply fair use (Section 107), the judicial “rule of reason”:

Do you have permission to make a copy of a DVD? The answer to this question is, it depends. If you want to copy the DVD onto a new DVD and toss the old one, it becomes an interpretation of the law. If it's still for sale, you'll need to buy a replacement. If you want to make multiple copies to send home with the library users, the answer is no.

If there's ever a question, your best bet is to contact the publisher and ask. Publishers are particularly helpful in answering questions.

Although a Copyright Notice is no longer required by U.S. law, most commercially produced media contain this notice. Some are generic labels, while others carry specific guidelines for use of these materials.

read!Try It!
Explore the Copyright page from the Library of Congress to learn more about copyright. Examine a dozen different products and note the location and contents of the copyright information. Do they all agree? How are they different?

Licensing and Performance Rights

Some libraries use movies as part of their public programming. Public libraries must obtain a license to show movies in public. People involved with school programs such as dramas and music programs need to know about permissions too.

The copyright law can be confusing for librarians. It’s important that everyone has a clear understanding of the intent of the law. Most videos you buy at the store are protected by the copyright law and not intended for use outside the home. However, the “fair use” section of the copyright law allows teachers to play these videos during face-to-face instruction where the video is part of the school curriculum. If the video is being used for entertainment purposes, then a Movie Copyright Compliance Site License is required. For example, public libraries, day-care facilities, summer camps, and churches must obtain this permit.

Many organizations are involved with issues related to the legal use of audio and video materials. Many of these sites provide information on copyright, licensing and royalties.

Other Organizations

Visit Get Movies and TV Shows at the Motion Picture Association of America. Also read the Summaries of Fair Use Cases from Stanford University Libraries.

Copyright Policy

All centers should have good policies that address the copyright issues discussed. In addition, patrons need to be informed of the policies through quality signs and materials labeling.

Use the following resources for additional information and example materials.

Do libraries do a good job following the copyright law? Are patrons adequately informed about their rights and responsibilities? Interview a librarian or educator about their policies and procedures. Explore the issue related to public viewing in schools, churches, and public libraries – what’s a public performance? What’s a class? What are performance rights? How does the library handle this?

Dealing with the Issues

Being true to the copyright law can be a challenge. Answers to specific questions are often not exact. This section will address common questions and issues often encountered by librarians. Keep in mind that the instructor is not a lawyer and each librarian may interpret the law slightly differently based on specific circumstances.

I can show my students Saving Private Ryan if it’s for educational purposes. However, if I want to show it the last day of class for entertainment, that’s illegal. Correct or Incorrect?

Correct, the first use is educational and the second is entertainment.

For the last 40 years, Doc Johnson has been using a betamax videotape on the proper technique for shoeing horses. The only betamax player is almost dead. The tape is no longer available. He wants to convert the betamax tape to DVD.

Duplication of materials is allowed only for preservation purposes if unused copies are no longer available at a fair price.

Using Video in the Classroom

The TEACH act had a major impact on the use of media. In November 2002, the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was signed into law. It says that schools can use copyright protected materials in distance education including websites without permission from the copyright owner. Although there are a few restrictions, this is a very important law.

To learn more, read The TEACH ACT from the Copyright Clearance Center.

The Easy, Legal, and Professional Way

Dealing with copyright issues and performance rights can be a difficult area. However it's important to keep in mind the original intent of the laws, your rights and responsibilities as a library director, and the particular situation.

The following is a real-world situation.

The PTO is planning a "movie night" in an elementary school making use of Movie Licensing USA. Is this okay or not okay?

Review the law at Understanding Copyright. The law is pretty clear on what is and is not an "educational exemption". The answer comes down to the mission of your school. If the movie doesn't address a "core, current curriculum" component it shouldn't be happening, period.

A librarian can take one of three positions. You need to decide what kind of professional you will become.

Easy Way - I know that family movie nights are happening in many schools. I know that schools have tried to address this using the following "work around"... however it's like going 60 mph in a 55 mile an hour zone. It's not legal, but it's happening. We'll just "make it work" by:
1 Calling the parent "supervisors" of "learning activities".
2. Focusing on a school-wide theme that is reflected in the curriculum such as character development, recycling, or bullying. For instance, this could be done with The Karate Kid. Select a film that reflects this theme with pre-film and post-film activities.

Legal Way - I go to the administration and demand that they follow the guidelines to get a Public Performance Site License.

Professional Way - I will approach the PTO committee and pose the following questions:

Copyright and Sound

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group representing the United States recording industry. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute about 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the U.S. In recent years, RIAA has brought legal action against publishers of file-sharing software to strictly enforce the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Several of these lawsuits are still pending, and many file-sharing practices have been altered or curtailed. The transmission rate for webcasting music is set by the Copyright Arbitration Panel (CARP) with input from the U.S. Librarian of Congress (2002).

Obtaining the rights to use music and sound sometimes involves more than one permission; obtaining rights from the publisher / copyright holder for lyrics, the musical score, and the performer(s). The following article provides relevant information:

All the regulations and restrictions can be daunting to students, librarians, and educators wanting to utilize published audio material. Issues on music copyright are an excellent topic for investigation, debate, and learning. Read Write Think has an excellent lesson unit (Grade 9-12) titled Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music.

Sound Exchange is a U.S. organization created to collect performance royalties for sound recording copyright owners and artists; collect the revenue stream created by 1995's Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act (DPRA). The DPRA gave record labels and other sound recording copyright owners a second chance to collect performance royalties from their recordings. Sound Exchange is an independent nonprofit performance rights organization that currently represents over 1,000 record companies, their more than 3000 labels and thousands of artists united in receiving a fair price for the licensing of their music for digital transmissions.

ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) licenses the right to perform songs and musical works.

Read Video and Copyright from the American Library Association.
This page is updated to include current information.

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