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Film and/or TV Showing in Class or on Campus

Answers to common questions related to showing films on campus.

Answers to Most Frequently Asked Questions

Can I show films in the classroom?

Yes. Using films, TV programs, etc. for teaching in the classroom is allowed under 17 USC Section 110. 

Some Specifics:

  • Viewing should be limited to only students enrolled in the class.
  • Showing films and TV programs in the distance or online education classroom or as part of a hybrid class is also allowed, but they must be the same amount or duration as what was or would have been shown in the physical classroom.

Except: Even under fair use guidelines, you cannot legally show a film available on Hulu, Prime, PBS Passport, or Disney+ from your personal account in a synchronous classroom environment.  This applies to most Netflix films as well, with just a few exceptions. Please see the guide on Netflix for more information.

The only way to synchronously watch a film with your class from an individual subscription service streaming platform is to use a service such as Teleparty, which allows people to watch videos simultaneously by logging in through their own accounts.


Can I show clips or excerpts from films or TV shows?

Yes, as long as it is for educational purposes, showing clips or excerpts is allowed under fair use according to the U.S. copyright law in and outside of the classroom.

Consider these four factors when determining if your purpose is fair use:

  • Purpose and Character of the Use 
    • Is your use of a commercial nature or is it for nonprofit educational purposes?
    • Fair use favors nonprofit educational purposes.
  • Nature of the Copyrighted Work
    • Is it factual or creative?
    • Fair use favors work that is factual.
  • Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used
    • The larger the amount of the content that is shown, the less likely it will be considered fair use.
  • Effect of the Use Upon the Potential Market
    • What is the value of the copyrighted work?
    • Does your showing have a significant impact on the profits of the copyright holder?

Except: Even under fair use guidelines, you cannot legally show a film available on Hulu, Prime, PBS Passport, or Disney+ from your personal account in a synchronous classroom environment.  This applies to most Netflix films as well, with just a few exceptions. Please see the guide on Netflix for more information.

The only way to synchronously watch a film with your class from an individual subscription service streaming platform is to use a service such as Teleparty, which allows people to watch videos simultaneously by logging in through their own accounts.


Can parts of films be used in student-completed assignments?

The same rules for showing films in the classroom apply to showing portions of films in completed assignments. Many of the Libraries' streaming film databases allow clips to be extracted from full-length films. 


Can I show films/TV programs for an event on campus?

Not without public performance rights (PPR). Films and TV programs shown outside of a scheduled class will need a public performance license, even if no admission is charged and the audience consists of EKU students. The cost for public performance rights varies by film and is dependent on the audience (whether open to the general public or just EKU students, faculty, and staff), anticipated number of attendees, whether or not admission is charged, if the event is one-time or involves multiple showings over a period of time, etc.

Exceptions:

  • If what you wish to screen is in the public domain, you should be able to show it to the public.
  • If what you wish to screen is licensed under Creative Commons or a similar license, you should be able to show it to the public. There are several types of Creative Common licenses and the specific license dictates where and for what purpose you can show the content. Please refer to the Creative Commons website for up-to-date licensing and usage guidance.

Can my student organization, group, or club show a film or TV program?

Not without public performance rights (PPR). Most often, the intent of such a screening is for entertainment purposes and not face-to-face teaching, so public performance rights would need to be obtained.


Can I show a film or TV program as part of a training program?

Possibly. Screening content as part of a training program for professional groups may be considered fair use as defined by the U.S. Copyright Act.


Can I show a film or TV program as part of a conference presentation?

Possibly, but if so, usually not the entire work. Screening content as part of a conference presentation may be considered fair use as defined by the U.S. Copyright Act. Some of the library's streaming databases may also allow it. Please consult your library liaison for assistance.


How do I obtain a public performance license?

Many educational film distributors provide the option to purchase physical or streaming content with the public performance rights (PPR) that allow showing the film outside the classroom. The cost to purchase the film with PPR is generally several hundred dollars more than the film without PPR.

There are several licensing companies that have either purchased rights or will negotiate rights and will work with colleges to license commercial films. The cost for licensing commercial films ranges from $100 to several thousand dollars depending on the work and copyright owner. Some common licensing companies are:

You can also ask the copyright owner for permission to show the content for free or at a reduced rate. The copyright owner is most often the United States distributor of the film. To discover who this is, go to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), search for the film or tv show, select the Company Credits page, and locate the US distributor.


How do I get the licensing rights?

You will need to contact the company that owns the rights. This can be a bit complicated. The cost varies depending on how many attendees are expected, how many times the film is to be shown, if admission is charged, etc. If you are having trouble finding who has the rights to a particular video, please email ElectronicResources.Library@eku.edu for assistance. 


If I need to purchase public performance rights, can the library help?

Please contact your library liaison for assistance. 


Do DVDs available through the EKU Libraries have public performance rights?

Rarely. The library does not usually have the PPR for videos for events, with the exceptions of AVON, Films on Demand databases and some Kanopy titles.


Which EKU Libraries streaming videos have public performance rights?

  • Alexander Street, Academic Video Online

    Except for films in the FILM PLATFORM channel, most programming includes limited public performance rights, which includes classroom showings and public screenings as long as no admission is charged.

  • Films on Demand
    Public Performance Rights available for all titles.
     
  • Kanopy
    Most programming includes public performance rights, as long as no admission is charged. Look for the PPR icon on the film's landing page.

Source used Film and/or TV Showings on Campus: UT Libraries

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