Media Conversion Rule

Western Michigan University adheres to copyright law and will not duplicate nor convert media to a digital format unless the following conditions are met and documented.

  1. If you are the creator of the media, and have not assigned copyright to someone else, then, as the copyright owner, you may have it converted.
  2. If a digital copy of the media exists, it should be purchased.
  3. If a digital copy does not exist, then the copyright owner should be contacted for written permission to change the media from analog to digital. To locate the copyright holder, contact the video's distributor. For videos from University Libraries instructional video collection, search the library's "Books+" feature by title, scroll down to publisher, and the distributor will be listed there. Search Google for the distributor's contact information. If the request is denied, the media cannot be converted.
  4. If the copyright owner cannot be determined, one can visit the IMDb website for feature films, film shorts, and television programs. Enter the movie, or television show name, and scroll down to the company credits and obtain contact information to seek written permission. Another option is to search the Internet for the film's title to see if the film has its own Web page with contact information. In addition, the Copyright Clearance Center may be contacted to see if anyone lays claim to the copyright. If so, written permission from them should be sought.
  5. If none of the above work, only the portion of the analog copy that is essential to the class may be converted. That single copy may only be used for face to face instruction, or for transmission consistent with the TEACH Act.
  6. Media recorded from an on air broadcast may not be converted. Copyright law states that this type of media may only be kept for 45 days, and used once in a class during that time.
  7. Motion pictures on DVD (as defined in 17 U.S. Code§101) that are legally acquired and protected by the Content Scrambling System may be converted under certain circumstances (17 U.S. Code§1201). The media needs to meet all of the above requirements for converting media. Only short portions of the video are allowed to be used for the purpose of criticism or commenting. Screen capture is the preferred non-circumventing conversion technique. If screen capture does not produce video of sufficient quality for the purpose of criticism or comment, then other circumventing technologies may be employed. Circumvention of the Content Scrambling System is only allowed f or noncommercial videos, documentary videos, and nonfiction multimedia ebooks offering film  analysis, and for educational purposes in film studies or other courses requiring close analysis of film and media excerpts by university faculty and students.


The library offers many streaming video resources for academic use, including films on demand and academic video online. They also have acquisition funds available for media and may be able to assist. Contact the subject librarian assigned to your department of study for assistance and/or more information.

To request media conversion

  • Contact the Faculty Technology Center at (269) 387-6958 to discuss media conversion options.

Additional information

Document action

Reviewed by LAN Managers Group: Jan. 2015
Reviewed by Academic and Information Technology Council, Dec. 2014
Updated by: Office of Information Technology, July 2021
Reviewed and approved by: Office of Information Technology leadership team, May 2014
Reviewed and approved by: LAN managers group, Dec. 2012
Created and approved by: Office of Information Technology leadership team,  Nov. 2012