Fair(ish) Use

For my assignment, I decided to create a video to teach you (and possibly my video production classes) about one of my passions–video storytelling. To show the idea of fair use, I thought I’d use one of my favorite episodes from my favorite TV show, Seinfeld.

My commentary on the excellent story development in Seinfeld season 6, episode 11: The Race.

I was having trouble with the audio playing in WordPress, so here is a link to the video in my Google Drive.

I believe that my use of this episode falls within the guidelines of fair use for educators because I have taken the episode apart to analyze the story therein for my students. In some sections, I have transformed it by splitting the clips and inserting video of myself making comments on the way the stories of the 4 protagonists weave together and the nature of good video storytelling in general. In others, I reduced the volume of the show to 5% so that I can put my verbal commentary in as a voice-over. Out of the 23 minute episode, there are only about 8-9 minutes of video that remains with the volume at 100%, and those are split up into fairly small pieces. Additionally, I have reduced the visual quality by changing the frame rate to only 15fps and the pixel dimensions to only 352 x 288. This serves to make this 17 minute clip possible to upload to WordPress and faster to load and watch for the viewer, but also much less likely that people would choose to use it as a substitute for the real thing.

I also believe that my potential change on the market for Seinfeld can only be in favor of the show. If it influences them either way, I think students of mine who watch this commentary would be more likely to go and find a way to watch this entire episode (or others) for themselves. My intention is to whet appetites for the show, not defame or deride it in any way, and I think that comes through in my positive commentary throughout. It certainly doesn’t take the place of watching the episode because so much of it cannot be heard with me talking over the top.

All-in-all, I feel confident enough in my fair usage that I would show this in class, but I have to admit that posting it on the internet still makes me feel uneasy. Still, I think I’m clearly in the right with this and my apprehension is probably just the echoes of the “culture of fear” concerning copyright that educators have been living in since the 90’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *