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Streaming Video Guide: Know your rights

Tools to support instructors in assigning streaming video, using clips and making video accessible to make the most of your precious class time.

Exemptions to Copyright Law for Instructors

The Face to Face Teaching Exemption allows for full video works to be shown in the "traditional" credit-bearing, physical classroom at UC Berkeley.

While the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) does not allow for most individuals to circumvent copy-protection to make clips, there are special exemptions made for our instructors and students.  Most librarians interpret the DMCA exemptions and Fair Use to allow for instructors to make clips amounting to about 10% of a particular work to facilitate including relevant portions of video works for "criticism or comment", while minimizing the disruption of physically cueing different DVDs, Blu-Rays and tapes during active class time.

The Teach Act allows for the use of films in distance education, but places great emphasis on restricting access only to the students enrolled in the class.  Most librarians interpret the Teach Act to allow for using clips and video works when access is restricted to students in a particular class through a learning management system, such as bCourses.

For more detailed information, see the following relevant laws and interpretations by recognized organizations and institutions:


Face to Face Teaching Exemption (Section 110)

Fair Use

General Copyright Resources


Why use video clips instead of full works?

Video clips can:

  • transform the narrative style of "sage on the stage" lecturing into a dialog
  • immerse our undergraduate students in otherwise distant eras, places, experiences
  • represent the voices and perspectives of the underrepresented 

... but only when it's the right clip.  Remember the 4 C's of clipping:

  • copyright conscious: 10% of the work or less
  • course content: how will this clip enhance student understanding and enlighten our discussion?