Showing movies in an online learning course

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  • I have a teacher who would like to show full length feature films in her American History Through Film Online Learning course. I have read the TEACH act over and over and feel that she can follow the requirements of the law. She will need to upload the movie so that students can access it at any time throughout a certain time period. She will be uploading it to a Learning Platform that requires a password and only enrolled students will be able to access the video. My question is, how does she legally put the movie into the Learning Platform? Is she allowed to purchase it through Vudu, download it, and then upload it into the platform? Is that even possible? I am struggling for ideas and would appreciate any help I can get!

  • When digitizing a work under the TEACH Act it must be a copy that was "lawfully” made and acquired. Many libraries interpret this to mean a film they have in their collection, that the faculty member owns, or one that is acquired through some other legal means, e.g. via Interlibrary Loan. I would advise against using a copy of the film acquired from Vudu or any other commercial vendor like Movies Anywhere or Netflix as the Terms of Use of these products state that the films are for personal use only.

    There are commercial software products that can be used to make digital copies of a film from a VHS or DVD/Blu-Ray. When utilizing the TEACH Act, many libraries only provide streaming copies of work in an effort to help “prevent [the] retention of the work…by recipients…for longer than the class session" (110(2)(D)(aa)).

    This checklist can help you work through the points of compliance of the TEACH Act:

    I hope this information helps!


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