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Copyright Guide

Is the class face-to-face?

If so, you're legally allowed to show the video in your classroom. This applies to both physical versions of a video (DVD, VHS) and digital versions of a video (Kanopy, YouTube, etc.). There are a few exceptions:

  • This only applies to showing a video in a physical classroom; it does not include online courses.

  • You should not knowingly show an illegal copy of the film.

Source: Digital Delivery in the Classroom (American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries )

Is the class online?

If so, you may or may not be able to share the video legally. This is the process we recommend you take to find a legal copy of the video:

  1. Find out if the video is available digitally and legally. Start with the Penfield subscription databases with streaming media.

    Found it? Check out our instructions on how to embed videos from our subscription databases.

    If you can't find it in one of our databases, check out the following free video sources.

    Tip: YouTube users often upload content they don't have permission to post! Look at the username and use your best judgment to determine whether that person holds the copyright. Here's an example of an old clip from Sesame Street:

    The first video was uploaded to the Sesame Street account, which has been verified by YouTube (note the grey check next to the name). It's probably safe to link to or embed this video.

    Screenshot of username from YouTube

  2. If you can't find a digital version, see if the library can acquire one. Contact your Resources Librarian to find out more.

  3. If you have a physical version (DVD or VHS), you may be able to digitize it. See our FAQ for more information about digitizing a video.

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