Showing a video in class can be an effective way of engaging students and delivering information, but infringing on a creators' rights is a complicated and expensive mistake. The Copyright Act gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their work. Widener University subscribes streaming databases to offer students and instructors a legal way to show videos in class. If you are interested in showing a video through a free streaming service or personal subscription, we have best practices for these situations.
The focus of this guide is on streaming video. Viewing a physical copy of a video, such as a DVD that has been purchased by an institution or individual, falls under US Code § 110.
Every fair use decision requires careful scrutiny of four factors. Each factor stands on its own, and each must be considered separately to determine fair use. This analysis should be done each time before a use is made. Keep in mind that it is the combination of the answers to all four questions that make up the final determination.
|Fair Use Factors||Characteristics of Fair Use||Characteristics of Infringement|
|1. Purpose and character of your use of the work||Noncommercial, educational, scholarly, newsworthy, or transformative||Commercial and/or entertainment|
|2. Nature of the work used||Factual, based on public documents||Creative|
|3a. Amount and substantiality of the work used||Small portion and not the "heart" of the work||Entire work|
|3b. Proportion of your work which is made up of the copyrighted work||Small % of your new work||Majority of your new work|
|4. Economic effect of use||Little or no devaluation or money lost||Substantial actual or probable money lost because of use|
Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal rights to publicly show a film. Copyright law makes an exception for showing films in the classroom for teaching purposes, but this doesn't cover every educational use. Use the flow chart below to determine if you need to apply for PPR.
Any videos in the Public Domain can be used without PPR.
Individuals and organizations are responsible for obtaining PPR for all non-exempt showings. There are two ways to obtain PPR:
Some Netflix Original educational documentaries are available for one-time educational screenings to subscription holders. To find which titles are available, go to the "Only On Netflix" section of media.netflix.com. From there, navigate to "All Alphabetical".
Titles that are available for educational screening will display a grant of permission on their details page. Educational screenings are permitted for any of the documentaries noted with this information on the following terms:
More information about this service can be found here.