Screening DVD as part of curriculum

Submission Date:


If a teacher teaches a novel in school, can they show the DVD of the movie under fair use?


This question was submitted by a system serving elementary and secondary schools.

The answer for those schools (and for higher education, too) is: if the viewing of the DVD is tied to the reading of the book and the content is part of the class/curriculum, then YES, it can be viewed in class.

This exception to infringement by a school is found in 17 U.S.C. 110  (1), which states:

...the following are not infringements of copyright:

(1) performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made;

So, to be clear: at a not-for-profit school, as part of the curriculum, in the school's designated learning space, the "movie based on the book" can be viewed as part of  the long as the copy being watched was not pirated or otherwise obtained through the shady  (but now losing ground to illegal streaming) DVD black market.

Thank you for this question.


Copyright, DVDs, Fair Use, Movies, School Libraries, Section 110