Is it permissible for me to show a DVD or video tape to my class that I rented or bought?”’

The performance or display of a copyrighted work by instructors or students in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or “similar place devoted to instruction” is permissible. The copy used for showing must be a lawful copy. (See: Viewing Movies and Other Audiovisual Works: Public Performances to Meet Educational Needs)

How is a “classroom or similar place devoted to instruction” defined?

Unfortunately, the law at present does not define what a “similar place devoted to instruction” means. If a work is shown outside the actual class time of a course, some educational discussion, introduction, commentary, etc. is advised for this to be considered a permissible performance of the work.

What if I want to stream a video or DVD so that my students may view it outside of class time, but for purposes of a particular course?”’

Instructors may show audiovisual works in an online instructional environment so long as the following conditions are met:

  1. The work must be directly related and of material assistance to the teaching of the course content.
  2. The work must be made under the direction of an instructor as an integral part of a class session.
  3. The work must be offered as a regular part of the mediated instructional activities similar to the type of performance that would take place in a live classroom setting.
  4. The transmission must be made solely for and reception of the transmission restricted to the students officially enrolled in the course.
  5. The information must be provided that the item is protected by the Copyright Act.
  6. Reasonable technological measures must be applied to prevent:
  • retention of the work in an accessible form by the recipients of the transmission;
  • unauthorized further dissemination of the work to others; and
  • bypassing technological measures used by copyright owners to prevent retention and/or unauthorized further dissemination.

Can I legally show a DVD from another region or a videotape in a different format?

It is permissible to watch a lawfully obtained copy of a non-region 1 DVD on a non-region 1 DVD player or to reset the region code setting of DVD-ROM drives in computers and to view alternative video tape formats on multi-format players.

It is not permissible to copy a videotape or DVD for purposes of converting the item from one format or region to another!