Do you have questions about re-using, remixing, showing, screening, or presenting audio or video? If so, some of the resources on this page should give you a better sense of what you can legally and ethically do. If you have specific questions about using audio or video from the UW Libraries in one of your projects, contact us.
The Association of Research Libraries' Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (PDF) is a clear and statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education.
Consider whether your use is fair. These tools can help with a fair use analysis. Please note they do not provide legal advice.
Law: Fair use (17 USC § 107) is a flexible doctrine of law that allows us to use copyright protected works for certain purposes.
The TEACH Act 17 (USC § 110(2)) is a limited and technical exception to copyright that allows some uses of media in distance learning.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, (17 USC § 1201) is a highly technical law that prohibits circumventing technological protection measures of copyright-protected works---even if a user wishes to use the work legally. Every three years the US Copyright Office creates exceptions to this restriction. Current exceptions were enacted in 2015 and will expire in 2018. They are explained in this blog and chart from Ohio State University.
Copyright law is complex. Stream unlicensed video for your class as a last resort.
What are Public Performance Rights (PPR)? Copyrighted films (and most of them are) are not automatically licensed for public performance (showing a movie/film in a dorm, auditorium, or other public space). The only legal exception to this rule is if an instructor shows a video to enrolled students only in a traditional (i.e., face-to-face) classroom setting (more detail here).
Do the UW Libraries purchase films with Public Performance Rights? Due to the extra cost and the fact that we are an academic institution, the Library usually does not purchase films with PPR. Some documentary publishers and distributors (e.g., Films for the Humanities, Bullfrog) do include PPR in the purchase price. These films may be screened to the public so long as the screening is free. These are the exception rather than the rule. Major studios (Sony and Columbia) do not sell DVDs with PPR.
Do I need PPR? It can be confusing to understand when you need to purchase PPR. In general, any time a film is "display[ed] at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered," (Title 17, U.S. Code) you will need to secure PPR rights.
Our event is free, can't we just show the video? No, unless you are showing a film that already has PPR (see Films with PPR below). Any time you are holding a public event where anyone can come, it is considered a public performance and you will need PPR. Student clubs, student-run film festivals and similar events are all public performances.
How do I purchase PPR? Here is a partial list of organizations that hold PPR for many films.
When inquiring about PPR, have the following information on hand:
Some film distributors sell films with Public Performance Rights (PPR). These tend to be educational documentaries that are part of the Libraries' collection. Films purchased from these companies include PPR.
To see a partial list of these films, use the links below. The PPR terms are general terms for each company. The UW Libraries may have signed separate licensing agreements for specific films. Ask Us! if you would like to know if a specific film in the UW Libraries collection may be shown publicly, outside of a UW class.