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:

Commercial streaming services as an option

Beyond Harvard Library's institutional streaming sources, sometimes standard commercial streaming options like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, AppleTV, and Disney+ and others may be the easiest option.

For the most part, these providers do not offer institutional accounts, so the Library cannot cover the cost of their services. 

You can use Just Watch or ReelGood to search across popular streaming services to find out where to legally watch a video.

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.