It is permissible to exhibit a rented film in class as long as it is part of your scheduled course work. Exhibiting films become problematic if you show a film that is not a part of the course work, such as showing a film to “reward” your class, or, if in your absence, the substitute shows a film that has not been scheduled. It is also advisable to ask either the library or your department to purchase the film if you intend to use it every time you teach the course. By law, Fair Use requires that the instructor be present in the classroom during exhibition of any copyrighted material.
You, as an individual, may not tape a program or film off the air waves and exhibit it for your class. You must ask the Audio Visual Department or the library to tape the program or film for you. The item can be shown in its entirety one time in your class, and portions of it may be reviewed one additional time to help reinforce learning outcomes. However, in any case the item must be destroyed after 45 school days (that is, days when school is in session). The same rules apply to cable broadcasts, and the taping must be done at the institution.
It is legal to show a personal copy of a film after an extensive search has found that the film is no longer available at a reasonable price. It is allowable to change formats for such an item. For example, a film can be transferred to digital format if an extensive search reveals that the film is not available, and is not likely to be available soon in a digital format. Films can also be digitized for archival purposes.
An instructor is allowed to make a compilation disc as longs as the total portion of the excerpted material does not exceed 10% or 3 minutes (whichever is the shortest) of the original item, and does not include a key part or climactic portion of the original item.
News programs can be taped by a non-profit institution and kept in perpetuity for research purposes.
It is perfectly legal for an instructor to exhibit his or her personal copy or any copy of a film as a substitute for the school’s copy if it is damaged, missing, or simply unavailable and efforts to replace the item have not been successful.
It is perfectly legal for a student to use a portion of a copyrighted item in his or her class project. However, the student and the institution can be held liable if the student exhibits the project outside the classroom.
It is not permissible to exhibit copyrighted items for special events unless the institution owns public performance rights. Fair Use does not specifically allow the exhibition of copyrighted material for special events even if there is a discussion group about the material either before, during, or after the exhibition.
Copyright law is interpreted by the courts. Historically, the courts have allowed non-profit institutions to exhibit copyrighted material in a learning atmosphere as long as it does not adversely affect the market value of the material, is used for educational purposes, and a fee is not charged. However, it is always advisable to seek permission from the copyright holder and maintain a copy of the request for your records.