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Copyright: Classroom

Classroom Performance/Display

Section 110(1) of the Copyright Act addresses performance and display of copyrighted materials in the face-to-face classroom:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 [of the copyright act], the following are not infringements:
(1) 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, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made;..."

Section 110(2) (The TEACH Act) deals with performance and display in the digital learning environment.

Can faculty show copyrighted videos to a class?

Yes, but there are some boundaries. The showing must be:

  • a "regular part of systematic instructional activities"
  • in a nonprofit educational institution
  • in a classroom or "similar place devoted to instruction"
  • the copy used must be lawfully made
  • Other notes: instructional activity must be taking place. The teaching activity should not be open to the public. The use of the video should be limlited to the campus grounds.

Can rental store videos be used to show in class?

Yes, these are lawfully made. Netflix videos are also permissable.

Can library videos be shown in class?


Do I need public performance rights to show a video in a class?


When do I need public performance rights?

This is necessary when a video is shown and is not related to a teaching activity. Campus clubs and social events that wish to show videos must have permission or public performance rights. Any event that is open to the public is a public performance and needs public performance rights.

How do I go about getting public performance rights?

The library can assist you and guide you to permissions agencies.

Do the Libraries' videos automatically come with public performance rights?

Not automatically for every video, although some video suppliers include public performance rights with the basic purchase. Performance rights are noted in the MERLIN catalog record. These films are licensed for public performance.
The Academic Support Center Media Library also supplies films for public performance.

When I order a video for the libraries' collections, can I request public performance rights?

No. The MU Libraries purchase video to support classroom teaching and private study. We avoid the higher cost of public performance licenses when possible. The Academic Support Center Media Library purchases videos with public performance rights for the University community.

How can I tell if the video I am borrowing from the library has public performance rights?

The MERLIN catalog record for the video has a note indicating "MU Performance rights: Public performance" and a subject heading, "Public performance media."

What about videos that can be purchased with streaming capability?

Some companies offer educational videos both on DVD and with streaming from the company's server. It is possible for some of these videos to be cataloged and proxied in the Libraries' MERLIN catalog to be viewed by MU faculty, students and staff anytime. Links to these databases can be added to your course management site. Ask your librarian to look into this if you are interested.

Who is my librarian?

Can I make a compilation of video clips to show in class?

The 2009 exemptions now permit faculty of any department or discipline to make a compilation of video clips from motion pictures on DVD. Faculty are permitted to circumvent technological protection measures (TPMs) of "lawfully made and acquired" motion pictures on DVD solely to incorporate "short portions" into new works "for the purpose of criticism or comment" when it is necessary for educational use. This rule also covers certain students - "college and university film and media studies students." The rule extends to include the use of small portions in "documentary filmmaking and noncommercial videos." There is no definition of "short portions." See "Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works."



Nothing on this guide is to be construed as legal advice. These pages are intended to provide information and guidance in the application of copyright law and to expand on the University of Missouri System Collected Rules and Regulations.

Thanks to Miller Nichols Library of UMKC for permission to reuse material from their Copyright guide.