Thanks to Congressional guidelines and specific provisions of the Copyright Act, educators may use certain copyrighted works found in particular media in the course of instruction without obtaining prior permission of copyright holders. For example, an instructor may show a film to a class in a face-to-face teaching context without getting the permission of the copyright holder first. This is true even if the copy of the film does not belong to the school; the exception would apply, for example, if the copy is rented from a video store, or is the instructor's own personal copy.
Keep in mind, however, that this exception applies only to face-to-face instruction; it would not allow for digital transmission of the film. Moreover, the medium used to show the film (i.e., videocassette, DVD, or other digital mode) must be a lawfully-produced copy.
Page Updated 11/18/04