Can I Show Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Redbox, etc. Media in My Classroom?
There may be times when a faculty member wishes to show a film or documentary in class that is housed on a 3rd party streaming site like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. As 3rd party sites offer more original/exclusive content, the terms and conditions of fair use blur. This article will serve as a starting point to understanding usage restrictions in an effort to comply with copyright laws and licensing terms.
Keep in mind that 3rd party streaming account licenses overrule copyright exemptions. For example, showing your personal DVD during class is covered by a specific copyright exemption (Section 110), and showing clips can be covered by fair use (Section 107). However, streaming videos from personal subscription vendors in your classroom when the license prohibits such viewings - there is no copyright exemption for that, leading to a problematic situation. Please note that Funderburg Library has made provisions to offer streaming videos through institutional subscription vendors like Films On Demand. Streaming through an institutional subscription is allowed and encouraged in a classroom setting.
Also note - Manchester University does not obtain institutional accounts with the 3rd party streaming services listed below.
Netflix has made provisions for educational use of "select" Netflix Original Documentaries. This does not include the entire Netflix database. Additionally, when agreeing to Netflix Terms and Conditions upon account creation, specifications state that the "service and any content viewed through the service is for your personal and non-commercial use only."
The instructions below should be used with your personal account information. To determine if a documentary you wish to stream in a classroom setting is included, complete the following steps:
When agreeing to Hulu Terms and Conditions upon account creation, specifications state that "using the services, including accessing and viewing the content on a streaming-only basis, [is for] personal, non-commercial purposes."
Hulu has not made provisions for educational screenings of its content. While classroom use would be non-commercial, it would not be considered personal use. Streaming Hulu content in a classroom setting would be a direct violation of licensing terms (section 3.2).
When agreeing to Amazon Prime Video Terms and Conditions upon account creation, specifications state that "Amazon grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, limited license, during the applicable viewing period, to access and view the digital content in accordance with the usage rules, for personal, non-commercial, private use."
Amazon has not made provisions for educational screenings of its content. While classroom use would be non-commercial, it would not be considered personal/private use. Streaming Amazon content in a classroom setting would be a direct violation of licensing terms (section 4h).
When agreeing to Redbox Terms and Conditions, the same personal use only wording is mentioned for streaming "On Demand" titles. There is language that suggests hard copy DVDs may be excluded, but Manchester's legal counsel agrees that educators should be leery interpreting that to mean any hard copy DVD is deemed as copyright exempt.
I Teach a Film Class. What Options Do I Have?
Streaming in a classroom setting from a service deemed for personal use violates the terms and conditions that ultimately trump any copyright exemptions. Options, while not ideal, could include:
--Article by Rebecca Johnson, last edited January, 2019