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Copyright & Fair Use

Video Use in the Classroom

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

A properly purchased or rented video (DVD, VHS, streaming) 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. When streaming a video from a service you personally subscribe to such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc., check the licensing terms. They take precedence over copyright and fair use

These 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 labels like "For Home Use Only" appear on the package.

Other resources:

Video Use in Public Events

Section 110(1) of the Copyright Law, Title 17, U.S. Code allows for "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."

In most other cases, public performance rights (PPR) are needed to give you the right to legally screen videos or play music in a public setting, even for a non-paying audience.  Please note that videos are usually considered "home use" only unless they have been specifically purchased or licensed with PPR.

"Home use" can include a dorm room or other private space, but where showings are limited to a "normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances."  The only exception to this is the face-to-face teaching exemption noted above.

  1. When do I need public performance rights?
    This is necessary when a video is shown and not related to direct classroom instruction. Campus clubs, social events, film series, lectures, and other public 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.

  2. How do I go about getting public performance rights?
    Securing public performance rights is the responsibility of the person or group screening the film. The UO Libraries generally does not purchase videos or music with PPR, with some exceptions. The following companies are good places to start:

    Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. is the major non-theatrical movie distributor and public performance licensing agent in venues where feature movies are shown publicly.

    Motion Picture Licensing Corporation is an independent copyright licensing agency that provides the Umbrella License to ensure copyright compliance for the public performance of motion pictures.

    If none of the above has the film, your next step is to go to Internet Movie Database. First, look up the title of the film. When you have arrived at the film's webpage, click on "company credits". Here, you'll see the distributor(s) listed. Once you have the name of the original distributor, try this list of distributor contacts.

  3. When I order a video for the libraries' collections, can I request public performance rights?
    Yes, and the cost is often higher than the typical video, naturally. 
     
  4. 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. In some cases you have to purchase the rights on a situational basis. If PPR is available for a library-owned video, that information will be in the library catalog record. Some of the Libraries' streaming video databases automatically come with public performance rights:

Video Collections with Public Performance Rights

The following digital video collections in the UO Libraries automatically come with public performance rights.

Video Use in Publications / On the Internet

According to American University's Center for Media and Social Impact (CMSI) these two tests or questions can help you plan whether to use the copyrighted work of others without asking permission:

  • Did the unlicensed use "transform" the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?
  • Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use?

Examples of transformative use include: satire and parody, negative or critical commentary, positive commentary, quoting to start a discussion, illustration or example, and incidental use.

Digitizing Video for Use in Canvas

If a video is not available through one of the library's streaming services or another platform, the UO Libraries may be able to help with digitizing portions of AV media for use in courses hosted in Canvas.

  1. Contact your subject librarian to begin the process.
  2. With your subject librarian, you will talk through the four factors of fair use to consider whether or not it's reasonable to digitize limited portions of the film
  3. If you determine that the digitization is within the realm of fair use, we can put the video in the queue for digitization. The instructor will receive the selected clips for upload to Canvas. Only selected clips may be uploaded to Canvas, not entire films.
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