Buy, Borrow, or Steal? Film Access for Film Studies Students

Wendy Rodgers


Libraries offer a mix of options to serve the film studies curriculum: streaming video, DVDs on Reserve, and streaming DVDs through online classrooms. Some professors screen films and lend DVDs to students. But how do students obtain the films required for their courses? How would they prefer to do so? These are among the questions explored using data obtained by surveying students at one Canadian university, and faculty and librarians at ten Canadian universities that offer film studies programs. The study finds that more students are engaging in digital piracy than using the Library Reserve desk, and that faculty and librarians must contend with formats, licenses, and copyright in order to provide effective, legal access. The paper recommends that libraries increase streaming options, collect DVDs for preservation, digitize DVDs when legally possible, screen films in class, investigate social screening spaces, and lobby industry and government for changes to law and practice.

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Copyright Wendy Rodgers

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