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Copyright for Faculty: Videos & Online Learning

Streaming Video

SU Subscription Databases

These are free to watch and to show in class. 

Online Streaming Services

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. require personal subscriptions and are usually restricted by license to personal, not classroom viewing. Sites like Tubi are free, but may also be protected by restrictive licenses.

Local Public Libraries

Is it Streaming?

Use these websites to find streaming movies and TV shows.

Public Performance Rights

When you want to show a movie to an audience outside of a classroom setting, even if you don't charge for admission, you will need to acquire public performance rights. Companies like Swank can provide such a license for a fee.

Fair Use, Videos, and Zoom

The simplest way to legally share videos with students is to provide them with links to freely-available streaming videos from library databases, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. When this isn't possible, sharing your screen as you stream or play a video is an option.

San Diego State University Library offers this advice:

"If you have a legally purchased DVD (your personal property or checked out from the Library), playing the DVD on your computer and sharing your screen via Zoom falls within copyright Fair Use under the following conditions:

  1. Don't record the session
  2. Only allow registered students in the course to access the Zoom session.  Distribute the link via Blackboard/Canvas for example, not on the open web.
  3. DVDs will work for screen sharing, but streaming services may be able to detect the screen share and disable that ability (So Netflix/Hulu may be a no go due to their technology). While Netflix and other services may have terms of service that disallow screen sharing, there is no market harm from this activity because there is no time to negotiate public display rights.
  4. Use only the portion necessary to support your pedagogy (don't show the whole thing unless you have to).
  5. Instructor commentary greatly increases the fair use defense of this activity - show a portion of the film, then lecture and discuss, then show more."

Open Educational Resources