However, the website http://www.teachwithmovies.org/copyright.html reminds that under narrow circumstances, films may be used in the classroom when there is an educational intent and certain tests are met.
The website from American University's Center for Social Media is helpful for fair use of film and video: http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/resources/ is a good starting point to read about classroom use and fair use.
1. The American Library Association Fact Sheet #7 Film and Video ( http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/library/libraryfactsheet/alalibraryfactsheet7.cfm ) provides an excellent checklist of under what circumstances a video may be used in the classroom:
Classroom Use of Videos
Classroom use of a copyrighted video is permissible only when all of the following conditions are met:
In addition, the ALA has also put out a clarification sheet about showing films in the classroom.
Face to Face exemption - Section 110(1). Performance or display of a lawfully made and acquired work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching of a non-profit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction is not an infringement of copyright. This is a very important exemption and is critical to educational activity. It is how we are allowed to operate. Four requirements in meeting the face-to-face exemption;
Notice that is does not matter if the video shown is labeled HOME USE ONLY or not. Any legally acquired film or video may be shown in class. You do not need special permission, license, or performance rights when films or videos are used under the Face-to-Face exemption.
Because of the nature of film and video, what is meant by public performance is always an issue. Clearly, showing a work in the classroom as part of the curriculum is accepted practice. Showing work in a larger space, perhaps combining classes, for direct curriculum support would not be an infringement. Any performance outside the classroom that did not support specific instructional activity could be considered an infringement. Remember, any screening must meet either the fair use or educational exemptions.
ALA also suggests two organizations for the licensing of film showings that do not strictly adhere to the above guidelines: “Group use for these videos is generally found to be strictly illegal unless public performance permission is obtained in writing from the copyright holder or via various 'umbrella' licensing companies."
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) represents over 60 producers and distributors, including such studios as Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros., Scholastic Entertainment, McGraw-Hill, Sony Pictures Classics, Tommy Nelson, and World Almanac, and provides an Umbrella LicenseSM. Contact MPLC directly with any questions (including license fee quote requests) at phone number 800-462-8855 (or 310-822-8855), or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. See the web site of the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) at http://www.mplc.com, which includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at http://www.mplc.com/qa.html as well as an explanation of the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) Umbrella LicenseSM at http://www.mplc.com/umbrel.html.
In addition, a film and performance rights for a one-time use of a motion picture can also be secured via Swank Motion Pictures . LTU uses this company for its entertainment programs via Student Affairs/Student Activities.
UC San Diego (also has another helpful statement about using taped videos from Off-the-Air television or cable (not pay-per-view) (http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/fvl/COPYRT.HTM).
These guidelines apply only to the recording of broadcast programs by non-profit educational institutions.
It is important to keep in mind that these exemptions are not to be confused with the home taping privileges given by virtue of the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Universal City Studios vs. Sony Corp .of America.
In that decision, the court declared that copyright laws do not prohibit Off-the-Air recording by individuals for their personal use in their homes. The decision does not allow off-air recording done at home by an individual to be shown outside the home.
It is also important to keep in mind the issues of fair use. The Supreme Court in Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corp vs. Crooks, found that massive, systematic Off-the-Air recording was not fair use because it has an effect on market value. So the systematic Off-the-Air recording of all of the UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS episodes for a class on English society would not fall under fair use and would be an infringement.