Movies in the Classroom…Is it Legal?

Sharing a documentary, TV show, or movie can be a great way to engage students, drive deeper learning, and boost critical thinking.ย  But doing so requires us as educators to first be well-informed about copyright laws, and aware of school and district policies, around using video content for learning. Common Sense Education has put together the following quick tips to get you started:

First, it’s good to know that an exemption to U.S. copyright law permits the use of movies, videos, and other performance displays during face-to-face teaching activities in a nonprofit educational institution, classroom, or similar place devoted to instruction. In other words, you can show your students a movie in your classroom as long as it has an educational purpose. However, there are additional important points to remember:

  • ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿซ The exemption is granted for face-to-face teaching, which means the teacher must be present in the classroom during instruction with the movie. That means the answer isn’t clear when it comes to showing movies in a remote learning setting, since you’re not technically face to face, so it’s probably not a good idea.
  • ๐Ÿงพ Whether you rent or purchase it, you need to “get” the movie legally.
  • ๐Ÿ“ In terms of streaming, if your school has a subscription to an educational streaming service designed for classroom use (like Swank), you should be fine. But think twice before using your personal streaming services, such as Netflix or Disney+. The terms and conditions for some streaming services indicate they are for “individual use” and can’t be used in group settings.
  • โฉ Fast-forward to specific scenes if you want to show clips, instead of “ripping” them.
  • ๐Ÿ’ต Of course, never show a movie and charge a fee!

Take a look at the full article below for additional guidance and resources:

Teachers Essential Guide To Showing Movies in the Classroom