Films, videos and DVDs

Films, videos and DVDs may be shown in lectures and tutorials without any licence or permission. This applies whether they were purchased, borrowed or hired.

Fortunately for educational institutions, there is a provision in the Copyright Act in section 28 that deems performances in the course of educational instruction not to be in public, so long as the audience is limited to those taking part in the instruction. This means that films and videos can be screened in class without the permission of the copyright owner. This is despite what it might state on the packaging or the video about strictly for home use; the Copyright Act overrides statements like these.

Published films and videos cannot be copied unless permission has been obtained from the copyright owner, usually the production company. There is no general licence or copyright exemption that permits you to copy videos, even for educational purposes. However, if you need to put together a compilation of excerpts from films for your students to study, contact the University Copyright Officer for further advice.

Wherever possible, use off-air recordings of films shown on TV for media and film study. The advantage is that you can make compilations of excerpts, make as many copies as you need, and make the recordings available online. Although copying an ABC program from a television broadcast is permitted under the Screenrights licence, copying a purchased video of the same program is illegal. The same applies to feature films. For example, recording a movie broadcast on TV is permitted under the Screenrights licence, but copying a published DVD of the same movie is illegal. You can find library copies of off-air recordings in the library catalogue by entering the search keywords “off air”.