Videos in the classroom

Playing videos in the classroom is allowed under the Copyright Act if the video is a legally obtained copy. If the video is accessed through a subscription service, streamed from a file sharing site, or protected by digital locks (DRM) then there may be conditions that prevent classroom use.

Live online lecture: You may PLAY videos live in an online, synchronous classroom (such as on MS teams or Zoom).

Recorded lecture: If you are going to include third-party video content as part of your asynchronous lecture, distributed to students later, you should only be using short excerpts of the video, interspersed with your commentary and analysis. Under fair dealing guidelines, you may record small selections, up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work).

In general, you may always LINK to videos on platforms such as YouTube, and have the students watch them online. 

For more information on sourcing film and video content, as well as assistance with permissions for streaming or showing clips of content in the online classroom, please visit Music and Media.

Can I show a video in class? Can I bring a video from my collection, a rental from a video store, or a copy from the Library?

Yes, you no longer need public performance rights to show videos in the classroom. You can now bring a legally purchased or rented video from home and play it in class. The Library will still purchase movies for the collection that you can use in class as well.

Can I show a YouTube/Netflix/iTunes movie in class?

You may stream a YouTube video directly from the site. When embedding the video in a powerpoint presentation, include a citation. 

You may not stream iTunes in the classroom. When you sign up for a iTunes account, you agree to only use the material for private use. For this reason, you cannot use these services to stream a movie in class.

For Netflix, you must check the individual permissions on a film. Some original documentaries do allow for educational screenings. Please refer to Netflix for more information: Here is an example of a movie which allows for educational use: If you do not see a similar permission statement, then the content can only be streamed for individual use.

Can I download and save a YouTube video for later use in the classroom?

Currently, there is no legal way to download someone else's YouTube video without permission, because to do so you must use special software which breaks digital locks. Breaking digital locks is not permitted in Canada (Canada Copyright Act S.41), however you may link out to a video, or embed the link in CourseSpaces.

See YouTube's commentary on the topic (US Law, we have some differences in Canada)

See UBC's copyright analysis on the topic.

Can I copy an audiovisual work (e.g., motion picture, television program, documentary, etc.) that has been published on DVD and post it in Brightspace?

Motion pictures and other audiovisual works that are published on DVDs are typically protected by a digital lock or a technical protection measure. You may, under the Fair Dealing Guidelines, use a video recording device (e.g., your smartphone, a digital camera), to record a short excerpt from a computer, television screen or projection and post it in Brightspace.

Please consult with Music and Media regarding permissions to stream an entire film for students.

Creating videos
involves many layers of production (writing, music, performance) and can contain copyrighted content from multiple sources. It is important to get permission when using material created by others, and to acknowledge your sources.

Who should I credit when making my video?

It is important to acknowledge all of the contributors to the work (actors, script writers, photographers, directors, etc.). A list of credits should be included at the end of the production.

Can I use background music in a video I am producing?

In general, videos you produce and post/stream on the Internet (e.g., YouTube), should not include music produced by others, without their permission. To request permission, you need to contact the music publisher and/or the artist. You can also contact SOCAN for assistance.

There are sites that provide royalty free music, and some artists allow for licensing of music for YouTube videos. It is important to read the terms of use information before using the resource.
Here is a sampling of helpful resources:

Watch this video on where to find free music for your video, by Videomaker on YouTube

Royalty-free music resources for YouTube videos

Video production at UVic - provides tips to help make your video projects easier and more creative

YouTube's Video Editor

Creative Commons' Legal Music for Videos


Free Music Archive

AlumoMusic - Instrumental background


VIMEO's Music Store

For video and movie use outside of the classroom, please see our movies at campus events page.

Please contact the  if you require assistance.

YouTube Copyright Basics - more information at

Should you have any questions please contact the Copyright Office.

The Copyright Office makes every effort to provide accurate information but does not offer it as counsel or legal advice.