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Copyright and Fair Use: Multimedia Use

Classroom Situations

Copyright law allows for the use of multimedia in a classroom situation (Section 110(1)). You may display or perform a work in your class without obtaining permission or doing a fair use analysis if your use meets the following criteria:

The use is:

  • for instructional purposes
  • in face-to-face teaching
  • at a non-profit educational institution.

You may perform/display:

  • all or part of a motion picture or television show
  • include photos, images, graphs, etc. in lecture slides
  • play music

Watching a Film Do's and Don'ts

The Library Copyright Alliance (which is affiliated with ALA, ACRL, and ARL) has issued a brief that goes over the issue of streaming an entire film in a remote non-classroom location.

View the document.

In short, they state that the "three provisions of the Copyright Act. . . could permit streaming of this sort: Sections 107, 110(2), and 110(1). While all three provisions may apply, Section 107 fair use is perhaps the strongest justification."


In order to use multimedia in a classroom situation, the materials that you use must be from legal copies

Off-Air Taping

Guidelines were developed and published in Circular 21 page 23 to cover the issue of off-air taping by non-profit educational institutions. As with the other Educational Copying Guidelines, these represent the minimum standards.

Broadcast television shows:

  • may be recorded simultaneously with the broadcast;
  • retained for 45 days after the recording for teacher evaluation;
  • used once in the course of instruction with the first 10 days of recording;
  • done at the request of the instructor;
  • copies may be created to meet the needs of the instructor but must comply with all other guidelines;
  • copies must include the copyright notice on the program as recorded;
  • copies must be destroyed after 45 days.