Answered By: Sherre Harrington
Last Updated: Jan 26, 2023     Views: 17

If the film is part of a class or other "teaching activity," no. U.S. copyright law provides an exemption for certain educational uses of video recordings. Specifically, it 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." A performance is most likely to fit within the exception if:

  • The performance is in a classroom or similar location used for instruction. 

  • The performance is part of a “teaching activity.” The teaching activity does not have to be part of a regular course. Examples include discussion forums or educational programs related to the film led by a student or instructor.

If the film is for some other purpose, you may need to purchase performance rights. Library and personally-owned copies of films seldom include public performance rights. Public performances of most Kanopy and Films on Demand videos are permitted as long as it is not for commercial benefit (no admission costs are charged and no profit is made from the screening). Only educational showings of Swank Digital Campus films are permitted.

See Memorial Library's Copyright guide for more information.