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Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines

A brief overview of Copyright, Fair Use, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the TEACH Act.

Classroom Performances and Displays

Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act addresses performance and display of copyrighted materials in the face-to-face classroom:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 [of the copyright act], the following are not infringements:
(1) performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made;..."

Section 110(2) (The TEACH Act) deals with performance and display in the digital learning environment.

Can faculty show copyrighted videos to a class?

Yes, but there are some boundaries. The showing must be:

  • a "regular part of systematic instructional activities"
  • in a nonprofit educational institution
  • in a classroom or "similar place devoted to instruction"
  • the copy used must be lawfully made
  • Other notes: instructional activity must be taking place. The teaching activity should not be open to the public. The use of the video should be limlited to the campus grounds.

Can library videos be shown in class?

Maybe. You need to check with the video publisher's licensing agreement to determine if a library's video can be shown in the classroom.

Do I need public performance rights to show a video in a class?


When do I need public performance rights?

This is necessary when a video is shown and is not related to a teaching activity. Campus clubs and social events that wish to show videos must have permission or public performance rights. Any event that is open to the public is a public performance and needs public performance rights.

How do I go about getting public performance rights?

The library can assist you and guide you to permissions agencies.

Do the Libraries' videos automatically come with public performance rights?

Not automatically for every video, although some video suppliers include public performance rights with the basic purchase. 

When I order a video for the libraries' collections, can I request public performance rights?

No. The Greenlease Library purchases video to support classroom teaching and private study. We avoid the higher cost of public performance licenses when possible. 

How can I tell if the video I am borrowing from the library has public performance rights?

Right now you will have to check with library staff. 

What about videos that can be purchased with streaming capability?

Some companies offer educational videos both on DVD and with streaming from the company's server. Links to these databases can be added to your course management site. Ask your librarian to look into this if you are interested.The Greenlease Library has acquired subscriptions to a number of streaming media services such as the Naxos Music Library and Naxos Video Library.These services may also be used in online teaching. 

Can I show a YouTube video to my classes?

Yes, using YouTube to demonstrate pedagogical points is fine, however, do not use YouTube videos that contain infringing content just as you would not use any other type of infringing content. YouTube is particularly rife with such material despite YouTube's best efforts. The best way to handle a YouTube video is to link to it. Using YouTube's embedded code for linking is ok also; it's just code and YouTube makes it available for users to embed.

What about using streaming Netflix or Amazon?

Instructors may wish to have students watch videos outside of class. While setting this up through Blackboard or a content management system may seem like the solution, showing entire popular, general release movies this way is a real stretch of Fair Use and under the TEACH Act involves licensing. Consider having your students get their own accounts through services like Netflix or Amazon to view movies. While you may show a DVD movie in its entirety in a face-to-face class, you most likely do not want to spend class time this way. These services are inexpensive solutions to the video viewing problem. 

What about videos in Online Distance Learning courses?

If the material is being used for online instruction the rules are a bit more complex. You may transmit video or audio of all of a non-dramatic literary work, such as a poetry or short story reading. You may also transmit a complete recording or video of a non-dramatic musical work. For all dramatic literary and musical performances (including opera, music videos, and musicals) you are limited to transmitting reasonable and limited portions. To determine what is a reasonable portion, you will need to refer back to the rules for fair use. See the TEACH Act tab for more information.

Who is my librarian?

Tensy Marcos-Bodker

Can I make a compilation of video clips to show in class?

Most videos today are protected by content scrambling systems (CSS), technological protection measures (TPMs) or digital rights management (DRM), and it is a violation of the law to circumvent these protections to copy material from a video. Instructors can always advance video to the portion they wish to comment on, however, the 2012 DMCA exemptions permit faculty and students requiring close analysis of film and media excerpts to circumvent protection measures to make short portions available for viewing. The exemption applies only to motion pictures on DVD or from online distribution services and the circumvention is allowed only when “necessary because reasonably available alternatives, such as noncircumventing methods or using screen capture software …are not able to produce the level of high-quality content required to achieve the desired criticism or comment.” If very high quality copy is not required for the criticism or comment, the law permits the use of screen capture software. Faculty might try products like Camtasia, Jing, and Screencast-o-matic. There is no definition of "short portions." Consult the DMCA tab on this LibGuide for more information. Also see the U.S. Copyright Office website for the 2012 Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works."

Can faculty share textbook supplements like power point slides and solutions with students?

If a faculty member has chosen a book as her or his course textbook and the students enrolled in that course are required to purchase the textbook, the faculty usually has the permission of the publisher to use the accompanying instructional and supplementary materials for that textbook in order to instruct the course. Please consult the textbook publisher for specific permissions and instructions regarding sharing or distribution. 

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 Rockhurst University Library · 1100 Rockhurst Road · Kansas City, MO 64110 · 816-501-4116