Skip to Main Content
UC Logo
Libraries | Ask the Libraries

Copyright FAQ

How Can I Use Video in a Face-to-Face Classroom?

The rules governing the showing of copyrighted videotapes are the same as those governing any other copyrighted performance.

A properly purchased or rented videotape or DVD may be used in a classroom setting in conjunction with face-to-face instruction. Care should be taken to comply with any special terms in the rental or purchase agreements.

The following criteria must be met:

  1. Must take place in a classroom or place of instruction in a nonprofit educational institution.
  2. Only teacher and students can be in attendance.
  3. Must be a face-to-face teaching activity.
  4. Copy of the video must be legally made or acquired.

If all these criteria are met, a film can be shown even if a label like "For Home Use Only" appear on the package. 

"Using Videos in the Classroom," Library & Learning Services, Marymount University

Do I Need Public Performance Rights?

YES -- you need public performance rights:

  • If the showing of the video is open to the public, such as a screening at a public event, OR
  • If the showing is in a public space where access is not restricted, such as a a showing of a film for a class but in a venue that is open to anyone to attend, OR
  • If persons attending are outside the normal circle of family and friends, such as a showing of a film by a club or organization.

NO -- you do not need public performance rights:

  • If you are privately viewing the film in your home with only family and friends in attendance, OR
  • If you are an instructor showing the film in class as part of the course curriculum to officially enrolled students in a classroom that is not open to others to attend, OR
  • If the film is in the public domain.

(Reproduced from Copyright on Campus: Showing Movies in Class and on Campus (UF George A. Smathers Libraries)

Can I Show a Film through My Amazon or Netflix Account in Class?

Subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon have very detailed membership agreements that may forbid the streaming of subscribed content in a classroom or other public venue. When you agree to the terms of membership, you enter into a contract and the terms of that contract trump any applicable exception in copyright. Therefore, if the membership agreement with Netflix prohibits the showing of the film in a classroom, you are bound by the terms of that agreement even if the face to face teaching exception would otherwise allow it. Instructors who plan to show films as part of their class, particularly when the class is taught online, should investigate the availability of films through Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other subscription or short term rental streaming services and to require their students to access that content on their own through their own subscription or account.

(Modified from Copyright on Campus: Showing Movies in Class and on Campus (UF George A. Smathers Libraries)

Can I Show a Video to My Online Class?

The Copyright Act at §110(1) (face to face teaching exemption) allows for the performance or display of video or film in a classroom where instruction takes place in classroom with enrolled students physically present and the film is related to the curricular goals of the course. The TEACH Act amendment to the Copyright Act permits the performance of a reasonable and limited portion of films in an online classroom. Under the TEACH Act, there is the express limitation on quantity, and an entire film will rarely constitute a reasonable and limited portion. Instructors may also rely upon fair use for showing films in an online course, although showing an entire film online also may not constitute fair use. Finally, the DMCA prohibits the circumvention of technological prevention measures (TPM) on DVDs and other media for the purpose of copying and distributing their content. Therefore, digitizing and streaming an entire DVD is not permissible unless an express exemption permits this. Currently, there is an exemption permitting faculty to circumvent TPM only to make clips of films for use in teaching and research.

(Modified from Copyright on Campus: Showing Movies in Class and on Campus (UF George A. Smathers Libraries)

What Are Safe Ways to Include Streaming Video Content in Online Courses?

Where Do I Find Public Domain/Creative Commons Materials?


Feature Films

Where Can I Post My Course Videos?

Kaltura,UC's enterprise video content creation, streaming and video repository tool, makes it easy to control access at the level of individual videos, and to connect to your course in Canvas. (See Kalura FAQ).

You also can post video to YouTube. However, videos posted on YouTube may encounter some automated copyright enforcement, such as a takedown notice, or disabling of included audio or video content.  In addition, YouTube is blocked in a number of countries, so please keep this in mind if your online course includes students from those countries.

(Modified from "Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online" by Nancy Sims, University of Minnesota Libraries, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

What Are the Guidelines for Multimedia Projects/Presentations?

Students and instructors who produce multimedia works for educational purposes may use small portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted works with proper credit to the source and the copyright owner.  The preparation of educational multimedia projects incorporating copyrighted works under the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia are subject to time, portion, copying and distribution limits

Students and teachers can use:

  1. Ten percent or three minutes of motion media.
  2. Ten percent or 1000 words of text materials.
  3. Five images by an artist or photographer or 10 percent or15 images from a collective work.
  4. Ten percent or 2500 fields or cell entries from a copyrighted database or data table.
  5. Ten percent or 30 seconds of music and lyrics from one work or from several extracts from one work.
  6. Student-produced multimedia works may be performed and displayed for educational purposes in the course for which they were created; students may retain multimedia works in a portfolio for later personal use such as job or graduate school interviews.
  7. Faculty-produced multimedia works may be performed and displayed for educational purposes for a period of up to two years following the date of first instructional use with a class; faculty may retain multimedia works in a portfolio for later personal use such as job or tenure interviews.
  8. Student- and faculty-produced multimedia works may be performed and displayed at open houses, in-service workshops, and professional conferences.

Student- and faculty-produced multimedia works must contain an opening screen “fair use” statement. The source(s) and owner(s) of copyrighted work(s) must be properly credited.

"Using Videos in the Classroom," Library & Learning Services, Marymount University

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

Contact Us | Staff Directory

University of Cincinnati

Alerts | Clery and HEOA Notice | Notice of Non-Discrimination | eAccessibility Concern | Privacy Statement | Copyright Information

© 2021 University of Cincinnati