The Harvard Library Copyright First Responders is a network of specially trained library staff who can advise you on fair use, licensing, and help you find freely available materials (in cases where fair use is unlikely to apply).
In-lecture use of audio or video
Playing audio or video off of physical media during an in-person class session is 100% legal at Harvard University under a provision of copyright law called the the Classroom Use Exemption (17 U.S.C. §110(1)) which is about face-to-face teaching. However, that exemption doesn't cover playing the same media online. For this online teaching with media there are specialized options:
- We can still share audio and video online if we meet this detailed set of requirements under the TEACH Act (17 U.S.C. §110(2)). The TEACH ACT in the Copyright Act provides the special exemption for distance learning activities.
- Even if you cannot meet all of the TEACH Act requirements, you may still rely on fair use. Fair use could apply but you must weigh all the four factors of fair use and assess the risk.
- For technical help sharing video clips with students:
Commercial streaming services as an option
For the most part, these providers do not offer institutional accounts, so the Library cannot cover the cost of their services.
Recording your own Zoom classes in which you screen a video or other media
If you choose to record your lecture, there are some considerations if you are including copyrighted content (movies, media, etc.) within the lecture itself.
Provided that the recording of your class lecture is both password protected and only accessible to students registered in your class, there should be no problem recording the lecture with appropriate uses of the copyrighted content, and making it available to those students to review/view outside of class time.
However, if you intend to make the recording of your class available beyond the students registered in that class, you should consider pausing the recording while you are sharing the copyrighted content and resuming the recording once the copyrighted content is finished. You can then share this lecture recording however you like, and provide a simple link to the copyrighted content for other viewers.
Panopto will allow you to embed links in a video's timeline, which will provide a fairly seamless experience for your viewers, but there are other options available as well. Please reach out to the Media Lab for more information on these options, by emailing mediaAnd@fas.harvard.edu.