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Copyright and Using Video

Provides information on when and how copyright affects use of videos in classrooms.

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.

Video on Course Websites

University of Michigan instructors can share videos with their students by using MiVideo, which is integrated into Canvas. The Library Digital Films Service offers assistance streaming licensed films.

For more information on when you can use a particular video on a course website, please see our guide to Copyright and Course Websites.

When to Use a Work on a Course Website

University of Michigan policy allows instructors to make their own decisions about posting materials on course websites, such as Canvas sites. Often, those decisions involve legal questions about copyright. The guidelines below are meant to assist instructors in making these decisions. 

  1. Only post a work on a course website if:
    1. The work is not copyrightable,
    2. The work has entered the public domain,
    3. The use you are making does not implicate any of the rights of the copyright holder,
    4. The use you are making is permitted by fair use or another user’s right,
    5. You hold the copyright in the work, OR
    6. The use you are making is permitted by a license from the copyright holder.
  2. Where possible, link to a legitimate online copy of the work instead of posting a copy of the work on your course website. US copyright law always permits you to link to a legitimate copy of the work hosted elsewhere, even when the work is protected by copyright. For instance, it is permissible to link to many of the electronic resources purchased by the library. If you need to use a licensed resource in a way that is not permitted by the license, contact a relevant library subject specialist. These librarians may be able to help you obtain library resources for your course.
  3. If you post a copy of the work, always include (and never remove) copyright information associated with it. For instance, be sure to include copyright notices (the c in a circle symbol, ©, and any information following it) as well as authors’ and publishers’ names. You don’t need to track down additional copyright information – you just need to retain what is already there.
  4. Even when copyright law permits your use of a work, it may be illegal to circumvent copy-prevention technology in order to make that use. For instance, it is generally illegal, under 17 U.S.C. § 1201, to circumvent the Content Scramble System that restricts access to works on some DVDs. However, the US Copyright Office creates specific exceptions to this law every three years. For information about the current exceptions, please consult the 2015 Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies (PDF).


In Canvas, MiVideo manifests as the Course Media Gallery, My Media (your personal media repository in your Canvas profile), and the Embed Media button in the rich text editor. On Canvas, you can manage the scope of access to videos, and you can edit, publish, and track your media in one place.

University units may also use MiVideo to host media in stand-alone websites. This product is called MediaSpace. In these cases, units are responsible for putting the appropriate restrictions in place.

For more information on MiVideo services, please see the MiVideo website.