In addition to serving as a student services officer at Acme Community College, Chuck also teaches a course every semester at Acme as an adjunct instructor. On each occasion he teaches his class, Chuck shows his personal copy (which he purchased from a Disney store) of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" to his students . . . often much to their consternation. He loves the film so much that he also runs it whenever he can on the video player in the Acme student union (much to the even greater consternation of the students there). At no time has Chuck sought to obtain prior permission to show the film from Disney, but he feels confident that he is doing nothing in violation of copyright law.
Is Chuck correct?
No. Chuck's use of the film in the classroom does not violate copyright law; showing the film in the Student Union, probably would.
The Copyright law allows Chuck to show a lawfully-made copy of a commercial film in his classes without obtaining the prior permission of the copyright holder. This exception only applies, however, to face-to-face instruction. It does not apply to such use as his showing the film in the student union. For that use, Chuck should obtain the prior permission of the copyright holder.
Page Updated 11/18/04