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Copyright Resources: Movies and Film

Overview: Use of Films and Video

The evolution of film and video from physical to digital formats and the development of streaming modes of delivery provide challenges to applying copyright law. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed by Congress in 1998 as an attempt to update copyright law in light of emerging technologies, but still does not cover all uses.

Uses of film and video are limited by the purpose, audience, and license agreements. In some instances, public performance rights may need to be purchased or permission requested from the copyright owner. In regards to fair use, as with print materials, no precise limits have been set by the courts on the amount of a work that can be used under a fair use exception. However, the amount selected should be no more than is appropriate for the teaching purpose.

When referencing media objects within the University’s systems, linking to publicly available or university licensed repositories is recommended over downloading a copy and uploading this copy to the system. This action allows students to download and then distribute copies of their own which is illegal and addressed in Section X.C.: Downloading and File Sharing. Capturing, downloading, or "ripping" media usually requires that you have been granted permission by the copyright owner.

Continue reading for more detailed information at Policy Section VI. Use of Films and Video.


If you are planning to show a film on campus either in a classroom or public space, please note that there are limits to what you can do.  


Obtaining Permissions for Films and other AV works

Start your search with the Internet Movie Database to identify who owns the film (listed under the "Company Credits"). Some of the licensing agencies are:

Library Film Databases

Trible Library provides links to other websites to aid in research and is not responsible for the content or privacy policy of those sites.