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Copyright & Educational Fair Use

This guide is a resource on copyright and fair use compliance for students, staff, and faculty at Nebraska Methodist College. It is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice.

Guidelines for NMC Faculty

A self-authored VHS tape that has not been published commercially may be converted into any other format such as DVD in single or multiple copies. There are commercial services are available to perform this conversion for personal content; however, most copyrighted material is encrypted.

In the case of materials copyrighted by Nebraska Methodist College or Methodist Health System, obtain permission to convert formats from the department that produced the resource.

VHS tapes that were commercially produced or produced by any entity other than Nebraska Methodist College or Methodist Health System may not be converted to DVD format without written permission from the copyright holder. In most cases, it is advisable to simply purchase the content in DVD format.

The absence of a copyright notice on a work does not necessarily mean a work is in the public domain. A commercially produced VHS tape, authored by others, is presumed to be copyrighted. There are legal limitations to what can be done with the tape, even under educational fair use guidelines. Why? Application of the four fair use factors argues against conversion of VHS to DVD.

 Fair Use Factor

Elements Favoring Conversion

Elements Opposing Conversion

Purpose of the use





Nature of the copyrighted work



Creative (art, music, fiction).



Amount copied

Small quantity.

Portion used is not central to the entire work as a whole.

Large portion or entire work.

Portion used is central or the heart of the work.


Effect on potential market for the original work

No significant market effect.

Not available in marketplace.

Absence of licensing mechanism.

One-time spontaneous use.

Cumulative effect of conversion substitutes for purchase of the original work.

Digital copy is available for purchase.

Reasonably available licensing mechanism.

Repeated or long-term use.


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