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Faculty Support

Films/Streaming Media

Classroom Screenings

Faculty teaching face-to-face classes are permitted to show films in their classrooms (or similar place devoted to instruction) to students in their class.  The showing must be limited to people in the class, not opened up to the rest of campus, in order to qualify for this exception.

If you are showing a film in the classroom, please work with arrange for captioning or audio description when appropriate.

The WWCC Library has access to three streaming media collections-Films on Demand, SWANK, and Kanopy-each of these collections has a mix of documentary, education film content, and major films/movies.  Please contact Jacquelyn Ray for how to obtain content or a film for your class.

Public screenings

All other screenings are considered public and a license must be in place in order to legally show the film.  Failure to obtain a license can result in fines from $750 to $30,000 per showing!  Any time a student group or college department shows a movie in any context (whether or not it is advertised to the public) and regardless of audience size, a license must be in place.

Most often, you will need to purchase “public performance rights”.  Licensing for popular titles will likely cost between a few hundred and a thousand dollars and can be purchased from major movie distributors such as Swank Motion PicturesCriterion Pictures, or Motion Picture Licensing Corporation. Independent films may cost less and generally need to be negotiated with the copyright holder.  In these cases, the cost could be as little as free and as much as a major motion picture.

Occasionally, films are purchased with public performance rights already granted.  The library has some of these titles.  This is an unusual case, but in that case, you would not need to purchase additional rights.  If you are planning to show a film owned by the WWCC Library, please check in with the library to see if any licensing is already in place.

Finally, in the rarest cases a film may be in the public domain (produced before 1925 or by the Federal government) or be licensed with a Creative Commons license that permits its use.  In these cases, you would not need to seek additional licensing.

What about the streaming services?

In the case of streaming services, both copyright laws and the terms of service of the streaming companies will apply.  Some Netflix Original documentaries are available for one-time educational screenings as long as you comply with some conditions.  Please consult the terms of service for the streaming platform in question, most, at this time, prohibit any public screening.



Our student club wants to show a film but it is for educational purposes. There is a plan for discussion about the issues raised in the film after it's shown. Do we still need Public Performance Rights?
It depends. Ordinarily, the showing of a film by a group or club is for entertainment purposes and thus PPR is required. However, if the group's purpose and activities are ordinarily educational nature and the showing of the film is in furtherance of those educational purposes and activities, then it may be fair use to show the film without PPR. 

What about a film series hosted by a group or club that is open to and advertised to the public?
The showing of a film as part of a film series is viewed as entertainment even if hosted or sponsored by an educational group or club. No matter how educational the setting or how tied to the curriculum, this is generally considered not to be fair use and PPR must be obtained.

I own the DVD that the club I am a member of wants to show. Do I still need to get PPR?
It doesn't matter where the film you are planning to show comes from -- your own collection, the Library's or the corner video rental shop. The analysis is the same. If an exception under copyright law does not apply (e.g. fair use, face to face teaching), then you must obtain PPR prior to showing the film.

What does "Home Use Only" mean? Does it mean I cannot show this DVD to my class?
Under copyright law, copyright holders have the exclusive right of performing or displaying their copyrighted works, including films or videos. The "Home Use Only" warning at the beginning of most DVDs refers to this exclusive right of performance and display. However, the law also has an exception for performing or displaying works in a face to face teaching situation where the work being performed or displayed is related to the curriculum and only being performed or displayed for students enrolled in a course at a non-profit educational institution (such as UF). Therefore, under this exception, DVDs with the "Home Use Only" warning can be played in a face to face classroom. For online courses, refer to fair use for determining how much of the film can be shown.

May I show clips of films to my students as part of a lecture?
Generally, yes, this is permissible under fair use. Apply the four factors of fair use to determine whether the film in question may be used for this purpose and how much of the film may be shown. New exemptions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act permit educators to "rip" clips from videos for educational purposes. 

The film I want to show is on Netflix. Can I stream this through my Netflix account in the classroom?
Subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon have very detailed membership agreements that may forbid the streaming of subscribed content in a classroom or other public venue. When you agree to the terms of membership, you enter into a contract and the terms of that contract trump any applicable exception in copyright. Therefore, if the membership agreement with Netflix prohibits the showing of the film in a classroom, you are bound by the terms of that agreement even if the face to face teaching exception would otherwise allow it. 

(FAQ examples provided by the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, 2024).