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Streaming video at the Mardigian

A Guide for Streaming Video Resources provided by the Mardigian Library

How May I Lawfully Use a Video in Canvas?

  • Linking: One of the best options for helping students access online video content is to link to the source, when the source video is publicly available for viewing on a reputable site.  For instance, posting a link in Canvas to a YouTube video is an efficient, noninfringing way to direct students to a video. 
  • Public domain: If a video is in the public domain, you are free to upload that video to Canvas for your students to access, stream, or download. Videos produced by the U.S. government or videos for which copyright has expired are common examples of videos in the public domain. Currently, motion pictures produced and exhibited more than 95 years ago are in the public domain. The public domain status of newer films are more difficult to determine. You can reach out to if you have questions about whether a particular film is likely to be in the public domain.
  • Creative Commons or Other Licenses: If the video you want to use has a Creative Commons or other license, you should be able to use the video within the constraints of that license. It is important that you look at the license you are relying upon to make sure that you are comporting with its terms. 
  • Fair Use of Short Clips: Short clips of a film can be used as a fair use for a variety of reasons, including criticism, comment, teaching, scholarship, or research. The fact that you are using the clips in an educational context, while important, is not enough to establish a fair use.  Fair use analyses can be complicated, so there is always some risk when you are making this kind of assessment.  Using only as much of a film/video as you need to to make your point and making sure that you are using only a fraction of the original are important elements to making a fair use. You can reach out to if you have questions about how to make fair uses of clips in your course. For more information about Fair Use, see Fair Use FAQ (part of the Copyright and Course Websites guide at U-M).
  • Personal Accounts: Using a personal streaming account (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) to screen share a film in an online class may put you in violation of your terms of service. Most streaming services have detailed membership agreements that do not allow streaming outside of personal viewing. Generally, using a personal account to show a film in class would not be allowed, but the provider's terms of service may give greater detail into this question. 
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