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Library Research Guides

Copyright and Using Video

This guide outlines the copyright considerations for using video 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.

Obtain a License

This page lists a number of ways to get permission to use an audiovisual work. Remember that you do not need a license if you are using something that is not copyrightable or is in the public domain, or if you are using it in a way that does not implicate one of the rights of copyright holders or is permitted by a user’s right.

Films the University of Michigan Library Has Already Licensed

Netflix Educational Screening Policy

Netflix allows one-time educational screenings of some Netflix Original documentaries. For more information, see Netflix's policy on Educational Screenings of Documentaries.

Collective Management Organizations for Audiovisual Works

The following organizations issue licenses for public performance or display of audiovisual works.

Film Studios and Distributors

If you want to license a work or a right not covered by licenses from the collective management organizations listed above, going directly to the studio or the distributor is another option. For instance, if you are seeking a license for clips or stills from a studio film, it is common to get that license from the studio. Licensing departments for many major studios and distributors are linked in the list below.

  • 20th Century Fox Clip Licensing Department (phone only): (310) 369-3605

Other Rights in Audiovisual Works

Many audiovisual works contain "layers" of copyrights and other rights that may be controlled by separate rightsholders. In some cases, (e.g., when you obtain a public performance license from a licensor such as Criterion or Swank) the licensor provides all the rights you need. In other cases, a single licensor may not be able to provide all the rights you need. For example, in some cases, a studio may not be able to license the background music in a film clip.