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Academic Support for Films: Copyright and Class Use

Information on film use for classes

Copyright and Class Use

  • It is a violation of copyright to show any DVD/video/streamed service content over Zoom or any other broadcast or course delivery means, unless you have been granted direct permission by the copyright holder or licensing agent. It doesn’t matter who owns the physical copy or pays for the service.
     
  • Although you cannot show a whole film online, you may show brief excerpts in a face-to-face or online class under Fair Use, like a 5-10 minute clip to start a discussion or illustrate a point. The guidance is to use no more than 10% and only use what is necessary for the teaching moment.  This applies to both streaming media and films on DVD.
     
  • The TEACH Act is what allows us to show DVDs in face-to-face classes, but there is no legal exemption for showing DVDs or other media in an online environment.
     
  • It is most definitely not considered Fair Use to duplicate or show a film if it can be obtained commercially. The most important factor in making a justification for Fair Use is to prove there is no detrimental effect on the market. This is why if it is commercially available at a reasonable cost, and the fees from consumer streaming services are considered reasonable, we cannot claim Fair Use. While the purpose (educational) is one of the factors considered in determining Fair Use, it never is more important than the market effect. Each and every Fair Use exemption must be assessed independently.