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Copyright and Fair Use: Audio Visual Requests (Videos)

Answers to common copyright questions asked by librarians and faculty

Streaming Video Requests

From the faculty FAQ on our website:

  1. I’d like to show a video in class. May it be digitized for my use?

    Yes, under these conditions:

    • The library must own a legal copy of the content. That copy must be taken out of circulation for the duration of the online reserve.
    • The content must be hosted on our private library server and limited via authentication to only members of the class.
    • We must make a good faith effort to request a streaming license of the content, if such a request avenue is available from the publisher.
  2. How can I show a video in my online class if it’s not in Hekman’s collection? How about for an in-person class?

    First, determine whether the film can be purchased on DVD. If not, determine whether the film is available on a streaming platform the library supports (Kanopy and Films on Demand). Consult your liaison librarian if you have any questions. The library cannot provide access to films on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, or other such platforms. Then send the information to Katherine Swart who will review the request for approval.

  3. May I link to a video on Vimeo or YouTube, even if it's possible that it was put up illegally (i.e., without acknowledging copyright)? 
    This is more a matter of ethics than of the law. If you suspect that a video has been posted without regard to copyright, why use it? This is not a good practice to model to students. Also, in circumstances like this, sometimes videos can be suddenly taken down. Your video could disappear just as you plan to use it in class. 
  4. When is a public performance license (PPL) required for a showing of a film? 
    Only if it's not being shown face-to-face in an educational setting and for a limited time period. If it's open to visitors, then a PPL must be purchased. If it's being shown to a campus group for the purpose of entertainment, there must be a PPL. No PPL is required for a creative commons licensed film. Some films come with their own PPL when you purchase. These can be digitized for a classroom setting.
  5. What about if I have my own subscription to Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, etc. May I show films from those providers in class? 
    No. Not even for educational content (as in a documentary, for example). Students will have to purchase their own subscriptions.