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Streaming Video

Provides information on streaming video resources available through Widener University.

Streaming Video at Widener

Streaming video is a great way to share information and engage with your audience.  Widener University subscribes to streaming video services that provide academic and cinematic videos for everyone with Widener credentials.  The streaming video services in this guide fall into two categories: subscription services provided by Widener and external streaming services.  Videos from our subscriptions can be shown in class, shared with others at Widener, and embedded into Canvas courses.  Any video shown through external sources may be subject to copyright.

If you are interested in hosting a movie night on campus, please follow instructions on the page Purchase Public Performance Rights (PPR).

The subscription services offered through Widener University are:

If you have a video request, please contact your liaison librarian.

Content for this guide was adapted from California State University, Northridge, Butler University, and Arizona State University. The focus of this guide is streaming video.  Viewing a physical copy of a video, such as a DVD that has been purchased by an institution or individual, falls under US Code § 110.

Using Video in Class

Showing a video in class can be an effective way of engaging students and delivering information, but infringing on a creators' rights is a complicated and expensive mistake.  The Copyright Act gives the copyright holder the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their work.  Widener University subscribes to streaming databases to offer students and instructors a legal way to show videos in class.  If the video you wish to show is not a part of our subscriptions, the use of that content may fall under Fair Use or require the purchase of Public Performance Rights (PPR).  Contact Kristina Dorsett if you have any questions:

Any videos that are in the public domain may be used without Fair Use or PPR.

Public Performance Rights

Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal rights to publicly show a film. Copyright law makes an exception for showing films in the classroom for teaching purposes, but this doesn't cover every educational use.  Use the flow chart below to determine if you need to apply for PPR.

How to Obtain Public Performance Rights

Individuals and organizations are responsible for obtaining PPR for all non-exempt showings.  There are three ways to obtain PPR at Widener University:

  1. Kanopy PPR License: the librarians at Wolfgram Memorial Library can offer PPR licenses for some materials through Kanopy.  If you are interested in showing a video that requires PPR, you can find more information on the Purchasing Public Performance Rights (PPR) page.
  2. Contact the copyright holder directly, or contact the distributor: the distributor may have the authority to grant licenses either by selling PPR or approving permission for a specific use.
  3. Contact the licensing service representing the film or its studio.  Services vary in the types of licensing offered and the scope of materials represented.  Below are some companies that sell PPR:

Fair Use

The fair use exception permits the reproduction of a portion of a copyrighted work without the copyright owner's permission, under certain circumstances.

Every fair use decision requires careful scrutiny of four factors.  Each factor stands on its own, and each must be considered separately to determine fair use.  This analysis should be done each time before a use is made.  Keep in mind that it is the combination of the answers to all four questions that make up the final determination.

Fair Use Factors Characteristics of Fair Use Characteristics of Infringement
1. Purpose and character of your use of the work Noncommercial, educational, scholarly, newsworthy, or transformative Commercial and/or entertainment
2. Nature of the work used Factual, based on public documents Creative
3a. Amount and substantiality of the work used Small portion and not the "heart" of the work Entire work
3b. Proportion of your work which is made up of the copyrighted work Small % of your new work Majority of your new work
4. Economic effect of use Little or no devaluation or money lost Substantial actual or probable money lost because of use

While it is possible to show copyrighted streaming videos during a distance learning class session, it is illegal to provide streaming access to anyone outside of that session.  It is also illegal to create a digital file from a physical object like a DVD or VHS tape.  Contact your liaison librarian for assistance with digital access.