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Library Research Guides

Copyright and Using Video

This guide provides a basic introduction to the copyright considerations of using, creating, and showing videos in an academic setting.

Copyright Questions?

The University of Michigan Library Copyright Office provides help with copyright questions for University of Michigan faculty, staff and students. Please email us with questions or visit our website for more information.

Legal Advice

The information presented here is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions pertaining to the University of Michigan, please contact the Office of the General Counsel.

If you require legal advice in your personal capacity, the lawyer referral services operated by the Washtenaw County Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan may be helpful to you.

Film Specialist

Jeff Pearson
Askwith Media Library, Shapiro Library, Room 2002, (734) 763-3758

Guide to Copyright and Using Video

Copyright gives authors the ability to control the reproduction and distribution of their works. Generally, the use of a copyrighted work including videos requires permission. There are exceptions classroom. For example, the TEACH Act (Section 110 of the US Copyright Act) protects many classroom uses of copyrighted material but is not too helpful regarding the use of video in the classroom or for teaching. Because the TEACH Act is not sufficiently clear on the issue of video, faculty are encouraged to consider whether fair use is a more appropriate approach to use of video for teaching in many cases.

Fair use is a limitation on the otherwise exclusive rights of copyright holders stated in Section 107 of the US Copyright Act. It is part of the law - not just a concept or theory. At its heart, fair use is about "good faith." Not good faith in the sense of not meaning anyone any harm (ignorance is never an excuse in the eyes of the law), rather, fair use is concerned with good faith as it applies to a general sense of fairness or equity. Fair use is just as concerned with "how" you are doing something as it is with "why." There are many protected purposes, including education, that can have very blurry borders, and the determining factors often come down to whether or not you took more than you needed or whether or not there was an easy way for you to pay for what you used.

This Guide includes information about fair use and provide you with general tips and principles to help you understand how fair use works in practice. As always, please contact the Library to see if we have already purchased or licensed the rights you may need for your class - or we may be able to do so if we know of your interest. We are here to help.

If you believe your copyright has been infringed on a web site hosted by the University, please contact our DMCA agent.