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Copyright Guidelines

Use of Video in Face-to-Face and Online Classes

I. Face-to-face classes

Instructors may use video clips OR entire films in face-to-face classes as long as:

  1. the copy of the film (DVD or VHS) is legally obtained;
  2. the content of the film is central to the course content; and
  3. the location is a recognized teaching setting and attendance is limited to the instructor and enrolled students (i.e., the assigned classroom, an enclosed viewing room in the Library, etc.).

II. Online classes

Use of video in online classes has other constraints.

  1. Short clips of films can be streamed and shown in online classes without permission of the copyright owner. The law does not strictly define a "short clip"; but most institutions consider 10% of the entirety as a guideline. Therefore, a 10-minute clip of a 100-minute movie can be used in an online class. As above, the copy of the film used must be legally obtained and the content central to the course content. Copyright permission is not necessary in this instance.
  2. A film IN ITS ENTIRETY cannot be streamed into an online course without permission from the copyright holder. Exceptions are films for which this permission is negotiated at time of purchase. An example at UW-Whitewater is the database Film on Demand whose 7,000 documentary films are available for use in online classes without further permission.
  3. An instructor wishing to show a copyright-protected film in an online class will need to secure written permission from the copyright holder or licensing agency in order for ICIT to stream the video. Help in doing this is available on Andersen Library's home page (http://library.uww.edu/copyright), and will usually require payment of a fee.

M. McCallister, former Library Director (retired, Oct. 2015)
Andersen Library, UW-Whitewater
July 28, 2010


Andersen Library
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190-1790

Contact the Library

Circulation Desk: 262-472-5511
Reference Desk: 262-472-1032