Commercial video in online course

← Return to forum

  • Can I include 8 to 10 minutes of a Disney movie in my online course? In the class, I compare and contrast this movie to one of our readings. Thanks.
  • If your university is TEACH compliant, I believe this would be okay provided your meet all the provisions. 8 to 10 minutes is rather a large clip, but if the entire thing is necessary to the assignment, then it shouldn't matter.
    I also believe a very good case could be made for fair use for at least one semester. Again, provided that it is a legal copy, it is protected and is only available for the time necessary for the assignment, not the entire semester. Disney is notoriously about going after consumers in court, so you may want to consider that, but the facts you present look like a good argument to me. This is the type of situation that the fair use exemption was made for in my non-legal opinion.
  • I agree with LWilliamson, and I would add that my preference in this situation would be to rely on the TEACH Act. As LWilliamson says, this is rather a large clip, and the TEACH Act, which only says you may use a reasonable and limited portion, seems more flexible here than fair use, since reasonableness would presumably be judged based on the pedagogical need that the clip meets.

    If you do rely on the TEACH Act, however, I strongly recommend streaming the video rather than allowing it to be downloaded. By streaming the video, you at least arguably attempt to meet the TEACH Act requirement to take "reasonable technological measure" to prevent retention and downstream copying. Granted, streaming is not perfect in this regard -- it is, in fact, quite easy to capture the files -- but once again, the standard here is reasonableness, not perfection.

    Remember, access to this clip must be restricted only to registered students in the class. This is an absolute requirement of the TEACH Act and probably equally necessary to support a fair use claim.

Posting to the forum is only available to users who are logged in.

← Return to forum