Copyrighting of Movies & Videos

Classroom Use

As an instructor in a non-profit educational setting you can display movies and videos in your classroom, directly to students, face-to-face, so long as it fits your curricular objective.

You may not copy entire works, although under fair use you may copy brief portions for instructional purposes.

In face-to-face teaching, during an official course that is registered with the Registrar's Office, a VHS or DVD copy of a motion picture (movie) may be shown with no restrictions.

Although the rental or purchase of a video does not carry with it the right "to perform the copyrighted work publicly," (Section 202) videos may be shown without a license for non-profit educational purposes and in certain narrowly defined "face-to-face teaching activities" (Section 110.1) because the law makes a specific, limited exception for such showings (Sections 106 and 110(1)).

Classroom Using Technology or Web Enhanced

Movies and videos used in a classroom course but available to students electronically (for example, in WebCT, or over the Internet) must follow the guidelines as set for distance education applications. If students have access to the material outside of the physical classroom then this constitutes a situation parallel to distance learning, with one exception:

When directing students to consult materials as homework (i.e. beyond what constitutes the time allotted for a class session), refer to Library Reserve Use.

Distance Education Applications

If your intent is to use a movie or movies in an online course, use the TEACH Act requirements to determine whether or not the image(s) can be used in digital distance education without having to obtain prior permission for the copyright owner.

The use of digitized video is explicitly addressed in the TEACH Act, and specific procedures have to be followed to comply with the law. Video material that is available for purchase in a digitized format must be purchased for use as streaming video, even if you already own an analog version (e.g., VHS video) of the program. Only those programs that have not been released in a digitized version may be converted by University faculty / staff for streaming purposes.

After a video is in the correct (digital) format for streaming, three requirements must be met to use it in an online course:

  1. A text notice must be placed within each stream designating it as Fairfield University / For educational use only
  2. The video stream must be explicitly limited to only those students who are registered for the online course. The media administrator will need a complete class list with e-mail addresses to password protect access to the video.
  3. The streaming video material will only be available online to students for that period of course time that is absolutely necessary for instruction. Faculty should provide the media administrator with start and end dates for each video to be available to students online.

To incorporate video into a distance learning course, please contact Karen Connolly at the Media dept., ext. 2724 or ksconnolly@fairfield.edu.

Presentation to a Live Audience Outside Classroom Use

To legally show a video or DVD outside of the classroom (the class must be listed for the semester with the registrar) or Library (the video or DVD must be related to your course content unless the library owns the public performance rights), a Public Performance license must be purchased - regardless of whether an admission or other fee is charged. This includes movies to be shown:

  • at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
  • to any audience other than an official class

This legal requirement applies equally to profit-making organizations and non-profit institutions (Senate Report No. 94-473, page 59; House Report No. 94-1476, page 62).

Showings of videos without a license, even innocent or inadvertent infringers, are subject to substantial civil damages ($750 to $30,000 for each illegal showing) and other penalties (Sections 502-505).

For more information on showing movies on campus, or securing Public Performance rights, contact Karen Connolly at ext. 2724, or Ksconnolly@fairfield.edu.

For Use on Campus Television Network

Fairfield University contracts with closed circuit movie services (primarily Residence Life Cinema) to show a limited number of movies on our Campus Television Network. The Media Center, in collaboration with the Academic Vice President and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, provides this service free of charge for classroom viewing assignments on a first-come, first-served basis.

To inquire about showing a movie on CTN, contact Karen Connolly at ext. 2724, or ksconnolly@fairfield.edu.

Library Reserve Use

Although the rental or purchase of a Video does not carry with it the right "to perform the copyrighted work publicly," (Section 202) videos may be shown without a license for non-profit educational purposes and in certain narrowly defined "face-to-face teaching activities" (Section 110.1) because the law makes a specific, limited exception for such showings. (Sections 106 and 110(1)). Based on the "Sony Corp" Supreme Court ruling, a library is included in the "face-to-face" activity if the viewing is considered "make-up" work for what could have been experienced in the classroom setting and utilizes the same portion of the work that was displayed, without charge, in the classroom.

If you wish to view or have students view movies or videos in the library, contact Philip Bahr at ext. 4206, or pbahr@fairfield.edu.

  • Note that movies or videos placed on reserve in the library building are acceptable so long as you're using a legally purchased copy - not a pirated recording, and you meet the fair use criteria outlined below.
  • When compiling a multimedia presentation using video excerpts, use the guidelines for multimedia before considering reserve usage.
  • If you are placing movies or videos on electronic reserve, in addition to meeting the fair use criteria and/or the Multimedia guidelines, you must additionally undertake the following technical compliance measures:
  • A text notice must be placed within each stream designating it as Fairfield University / For educational use only
  • The video stream must be explicitly limited to only those students who are registered for the online course. The media administrator will need a complete class list with e-mail addresses to password protect access to the video.
  • The streaming video material will only be available online to students for that period of course time that is absolutely necessary for instruction. Faculty should provide the media administrator with start and end dates for each video to be available to students online.

When placing reproductions of audio recordings or music on reserve in the library or on electronic reserve, please refer to the Traditional Reserves Policy or the Electronic Reserves Policy.

Fair Use Criteria

- Purpose of the Use: Materials must serve only the needs of specified educational programs; they must be placed on reserve only at the specific request of the instructor; students should not be charged specifically to consult the works, and no person or unit at the university should benefit monetarily from the use of the material.

- Nature of the Work: Materials must be related directly to the educational objectives of a specific course; only those portions relevant to the objectives of the course may be placed on reserve; and reproductions of highly creative works, like feature films, are not generally appropriate unless they are the main subject of academic study.

- Amount of the Work: Reproductions will generally be limited to brief works or brief excerpts from longer works; the amount of the work placed on reserve must be related directly to the educational objectives of the course.

- Effect of the Use on the Market for the Original: Repeat use of the same material by the same instructor for the same course will require permission from the copyright owner where reproductions of the work are concerned; the materials will include a citation to the original source of publication and a form of copyright notice; no material should be included unless it is produced from a lawfully obtained copy; materials on reserve may not include any works that are available for students to purchase in the campus bookstore or other customary outlet.

For more information about library reserves, contact Elise Bochinski at ext. 2892, or ebochinski@fairfield.edu.