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Films and Copyright Basics

Use this LibGuide to find information, resources and tools concerning film copyright for teaching and research. As always, please email the Oxford Reserves Team with any questions.

Copyright Basics

All films found at Emory University libraries are protected under U.S. Copyright Law. Unauthorized use or duplication is strictly prohibited.  

Oxford College Library does not own the public performance rights for a majority of the films in the collection. Screenings may not be held outside the classroom without obtaining public performance rights. Films may be shown in their entirety or as clips for teaching purposes in the classroom, if steps to comply with copyright are followed in advance. All materials checked out must be used in accordance with copyright law.

For more information about copyright, please visit the Office of Scholarly Communication's Copyright webpage.

How do I...?

Key Takeaways

  • You cannot show a film or TV show from a subscription streaming service in your classroom. Each student much watch the content on their own personal account.
  • Netflix offers some exceptions for its educational documentaries, which are hosted on YouTube.

Subscription based streaming services such as Netflix, etc. are for personal use only and are not licensed to institutions. These services have an end user license agreement, and do not allow for classroom or educational use. Netflix does have an exception to this, however. 

Netflix does provide for educational screenings of some of its documentaries. To find out which titles are available, visit media.netflix.com and search for the title. Click on the film's details page and look for the GRANT OF PERMISSION FOR EDUCATIONAL SCREENINGS.  

Here are some things to keep in mind when using Netflix:

  • The documentary may only be accessed via the Netflix service, by a Netflix account holder. Netflix does not sell DVDs or provide other ways for you to show the film. (Oxford College Library does NOT have a Netflix account. Faculty will need to log in with their own credentials.)
  • The screening must be non-profit and non-commercial. That means you cannot charge admission, or solicit donations, or accept advertising or commercial sponsorships in connection with the screening.
  • Please don’t use Netflix’s logos in any promotion for the screening, or do anything else that indicates that the screening is “official” or endorsed by Netflix.
Key Takeaways

  • We are here to help you navigate the process of finding films and adding them to your courses.
  • Consider showing clips of films in lieu of the whole film, as this is more likely to be permissible under Fair Use.
  • Copyright Law differs on showing films in person versus for online teaching. Please contact the Reserves Team with copyright questions. The TEACH Act does allow for certain exemptions for online teaching.

See below for streaming platforms available at Emory. Before assigning films for a course, please contact the Oxford Library Reserves Team to confirm availability and request that the title be added to course reserves.

U.S Copyright law provides for the use of film clips in teaching and research, so please consider using film clips in lieu of the entire film.

Individual streaming films may also be found in discoverE if searched by title. This includes all Hollywood feature films except for those released by Fox.

  Key Takeaways

  • Emory has access to thousands of films on multiple streaming platforms that can be used for your classes. Contact the Course Reserves team to confirm availability and get materials added to your course reserves.
  • If you need help identifying film materials for your class, contact your personal librarian.

See below for streaming platforms available at Emory. Before assigning films for a course, please contact the Oxford Library Reserves Team to confirm availability and request that the title be added to course reserves.

U.S Copyright law provides for the use of film clips in teaching and research, so please consider using film clips in lieu of the entire film.

Individual streaming films may also be found in discoverE if searched by title. This includes all Hollywood feature films except for those released by Fox.

Key Takeaways

  • Login to the Emory VPN to access films when you are outside of the United States.
  • Sony Pictures Classics cannot be viewed on iphones, iPads, or the Safari web browser internationally or in the United States. Mac users should use Firefox or Google Chrome to access this content.
  
Most films found at Emory can be streamed internationally once you are logged in to the Emory VPN. The exception to this are films owned by Sony Pictures Classics provided on the Alexander Street Press AVON platform. Those films have DRM restrictions that prohibit access to users outside the US, even through the VPN. These films are also not playable on iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads or the Safari browser, even in the US. Sony Pictures Classics controls access to these films, and we cannot change this setting.
Key Takeaways

  • When you are showing a film on campus as part of an event, such as a club activity or organizational event, you MUST obtain the public performance rights.

When do I need to obtain public performance rights?

  • If the showing is open to the public, or in a public space where access is not restricted. For example, you will need to obtain PPR if you are part of an Oxford club or organization that is showing a film in the Student Center. 

How long does getting the public performance rights take?

  • The average time needed to obtain the PPR rights is about 7-14 days. However, this process can take much longer, and sometimes due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be unable to obtain the PPR at all. This is why we ask that you search our film databases for options already available, and it's always a great idea to have a backup plan.