Streaming Video

Using video resources in the classroom, including descriptions of available resources, copyright information, and FAQ about finding and requesting films.

Library Research Guide

Copyright and Audiovisual Material

Copyright law protects a broad range of content including audiovisual material and shapes how users can use physical and streamed content. Throughout the law audiovisual works sometimes have different rules or restrictions on use/reuse than other content types. 

For example: 

17 USC 108 Limitations of Exclusive Rights: Reproduction by Libraries and Archives in section (i) dictates not all of the limitations indicated in the earlier portion of the code apply to audiovisual (other than an audiovisual work dealing with news) and several other types of works in the way that they apply to, for example, literary works.  

For more information on the basics of copyright law please consult:

What are Public Performance Rights (PPR)?

Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal rights to publicly show films. PPRs need to be secured, whether charging for admissions or not, for: 

  • Screenings that are open to the public. 
  • Screenings that occur in a public place where student registration is not required and access is not restricted. 
  • Screenings for academic purposes, but not limited to enrolled students, and others are invited to attend. 

The Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship (CADS) prepared the following "I Want to Show A Movie" guidelines to help expand on PPRs and movie showings. Additionally, you can find more information on PPRs on CADS' Using Copyrighted and Library Content Guide. 

Best Practices

Clips are recommended over full length features when videos are a part of instruction. Clips are relatively copyright friendly. 

"Up to three exclusive rights of copyright can be implicated when creating and using clips—– reproduction, public performance, and distribution (such as when clips are posted on course web sites)—and all are addressed in copyright exceptions. Certain conditions must apply. The DVDs or videos copied must be lawfully acquired copies. The clips must be used for educational purposes only, and if delivered via digital technology must be restricted to enrolled students through password protection or some other method."  (Carrie Russell. “The Best of Copyright and VideoLib.” Library Trends 58, no. 3 (2010): 349–57.

Clips place a spotlight on the significant aspects of the video as it pertains to the course content, and using only the necessary sections of videos reduces the potential for infringement - especially helpful for a fair use claim!

How do I get the clip and how do I do it legally? That's where the DMCA and exceptions come in!

What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Why Does it Matter?

The DMCA was passed in 1998. For a detailed list of its relationship to library services ALA has a great summary. The law itself and detailed information on which sections of law were reformed can be found through the U.S Copyright Office. 

DMCA shapes your ability to use videos in class in two prominent ways: 

1) imposes rules prohibiting the circumvention of technological protection measures

  • prevents most individuals from circumventing (breaking digital encryption locks or ripping DVDs) copyright-protection to make clips of content. 
    • Some special exemptions were made for students and instructors as recommended by the Register of Copyrights and enacted by the Librarian of Congress a power created in 17 USC 1201.This is why and how you can make your clips! The webpage for the Section 1201 2021 Rulemaking, expands on the current exemptions.

2) sets limitations on copyright infringement liability for online service providers (OSPs).

  • Part of the DMCA was the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA)  which established the DMCA Notice and Takedown Process. 
    • This is why some of the online material you may link out to may be removed with no notice to you. Youtube and Vimeo content is easy to link to but sometimes may be found to be infringing and subsequently removed from websites. 

General Best Practices and Tips for Providing Access to Video Content 

  • Use Canvas when relying on the TEACH Act for remote instruction this can help limit enrollment and access. 
  • Only share the content for a short and set period of time and then remove the file. 
  • Use permalinks when linking to Youtube, Vimeo, and other video content collections.
  • Clipping video content can happen physically or by setting up a DVD for use in class and navigating to the section needed and stopping the display when the content you needed is over. 
  • Some of the Library's DVDs have Public Performance Rights (PPR) secured and we purchase them that way. If you need content for a public performance this collection is a great place to start.