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A guide to copying and digitization at Brandon University

Streaming Video / YouTube

Online Streaming Videos (from UBC's site on Copyright Resources)

You are free to display online streaming videos (including Youtube videos) in the classroom, provided that the videos meet the requirements listed above, and that you also satisfy the following criteria:

  1. you do not break or circumvent a Digital Lock to access or obtain a copy of the work;
  2. there is no clear and visible notice on the website or on the work itself that prohibits the use or reproduction of the work (more than just a copyright symbol);
  3. the website is not questionable, infringing or clearly using the works without the copyright owner’s consent ; and
  4. you identify the source of the work and, if available and applicable, the author, performer, maker or broadcaster of the work.

Since it can be difficult to determine whether your use of an online streaming video satisfies these requirements, it is worth discussing each requirement in more detail.

First, please keep in mind that it is illegal to tamper with any digital lock. So if any streaming video includes a digital lock of any kind, it cannot be circumvented. Common examples of digital locks include paywalls and other forms of password-protection, as well as any software that prevents you from accessing, downloading, copying, or editing a digital file without the permission of the copyright owner. 

Second, if you wish to display an online streaming video in class, then you must examine the webpage where the video has been made available, as well as the parent website, to see if there is a notice that prohibits reproduction of the work. Such a notice might be placed in the immediate vicinity of the video itself, or it could be included within the general legal notices for the parent service or website. When searching for such notices, it helps to look at the links placed at the very bottom of the page, and particularly for links that contain the words "Terms of Use," "Legal," or "Copyright." To mention two popular examples, both iTunes and Netflix have terms of use agreements that prohibit users from displaying content for anything other than personal use.

Third, you must do your best to determine whether the video has been made available with the copyright owner's consent. For instance, while it is easy to find clips from commercial films in Youtube, most of these clips have been uploaded without the copyright owner's consent, and would therefore not be permissible to display in class. To determine the legitimacy of an online streaming video, a good first step is to view the user account information for the party who uploaded the video. If the uploader is an anonymous individual who provides no information about the video's provenance (e.g., its origins and the rights under which it is being made available), then the video is less likely to be a legitimate copy. By contrast, if the uploader identifies themselves, provides contact information, and includes some mention of the video's provenance, then the video is more likely to be a legitimate copy. If in doubt, then try contacting the uploader to seek clarification.

There are many websites where you can search for videos that include advance permission for educational use, whether through Creative Commons licenses or through the website's "Terms of Use." Examples include: TEDTalks (, Creative Commons Content Directories (, and the Internet Archive ( 


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Carmen Kazakoff-Lane
Carmen Kazakoff -Lane, Scholarly Communications Librarian
John E. Robbins Library - ( LB 2-19 )
270-18th Street
Brandon, Manitoba
R7A 6A9

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Ph: (204) 727-7483
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