VHS to DVD?
Q. With the increased use of DVD systems it has been suggested that we convert our VHS library of educational videos in VHS format to DVD. Is it a copyright violation to convert to DVD and discontinue use of the VHS tapes?
A. In most cases, yes, it would be a copyright violation. Reproducing a VHS to DVD without the prior permission of the rights-holder is an infringement of copyright. This kind of reproduction is not exempt because it is not “fair use” as defined in Section 107 of the Copyright Code and it does not qualify as a lawful reproduction under Section 108 of the Copyright Code.
However, in a situation where the VHS tape is lost, stolen or deteriorating or is in an obsolete format (a 3/4” tape is obsolete because the equipment is no longer being sold, but a VHS tape is not obsolete) and is not available in the DVD format in the market for a reasonable cost, the library can make a reproduction. But if the reproduction is in a digital format (DVD is digital), then that copy cannot leave the library premises.