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Copyright Guide for DVC Faculty

This research guide is intended to let faculty know the basics about copyright and fair use, and how it applies to their course materials.

Using Video Recordings-The Classroom Exception and The TEACH Act

1. Section 110(1) of the Copyright Law (The Classroom Exception) makes special provision for displaying images, playing motion pictures or sound recordings, or performing works in face-to-face classes.

2. Section 110(2) of the Copyright Law (The TEACH Act) specifically applies to displaying images, playing motion pictures or sound recordings, or performing works in your online class.

FAQs - In-Person Teaching

Question: Can I show a DVD or streaming video in the classroom for instructional purposes?

Answer: Yes, since it is for classroom instruction and no admission fee is charged. Tuition and course fees do not constitute admission fees.

Question: May I make a compilation of scenes copied from various DVDs?

Answer: Yes, but only if

  • you are a college professor or film student for the purposes of classroom use, critical commentary, documentary production, or nonprofit uses.
  • the compilation is made from DVDs legally acquired and owned by the college.

Question: Can our campus organization show a streaming video at an event?

Answer: It depends. If the event is open to the public, showing a film is considered a "performance" and copyright permission or licensing is required. Some of the streaming video databases that DVC Library subscribes to offer Public Performance Rights (PPR) as part of their license agreements provided that admission fees are not charged for the event. Review the list at the bottom of this page for specifics.

FAQs - Online Teaching

Question: Can I link to streaming videos licensed by the library in my online class?

Answer: Yes, linking to licensed streaming content from the library's subscription databases (e.g. Films on Demand) is permitted.

Question: May I embed a YouTube video in my online class?

Answer: You could argue that it is not infringing upon copyright because you are only including a link, an embedded link, but still just a link. However, YouTube policy clearly states that you must first obtain permission from the copyright owner. When in doubt, link, don't embed.

Question: May I post clips from films or tv shows to my online course?

Answer: Yes, provided you comply with the provisions of the Teach Act. The length of any clip shown must be "reasonable and limited."

Licensed by DVC Library

Best Practices for Using Copyrighted Video


Adapted from California State University, Long Beach. "Copyright & Fair Use for Faculty: Common Scenarios."