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Copyright & Fair Use

In the Classroom

U.S. Copyright Law states that “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” is NOT copyright infringement (Section 110(1)). However...

Audiovisual works in physical formats

Audiovisual works, including motion pictures, audio recordings, and images in physical formats (slides, DVDs, CDs, etc.) can be displayed under the face-to-face teaching exemption as long as they are lawfully made copies (Section 110(1)).

Streaming audiovisual works

Streaming audiovisual works in the classroom is somewhat complicated:

  • Licensed works can be used in the classroom according to the license agreement.
  • Streaming reformatted or ripped audiovisual works into the classroom may be permitted under the TEACH Act and/or temporary exemptions issued by the U.S. Copyright Office. If the criteria for either cannot be met, a Fair Use evaluation may also be an option.
  • Streaming audiovisual works from the web (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) is generally permitted if not explicitly prohibited by the creator and if the instructor has no knowledge or suspicion that a work is an illegal copy.
  • Using audiovisual works from streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.) is generally prohibited by the service’s terms of use.
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