Can screening copyright video in class without explicit permission be infringement in any country?


I am working on an online course on digital pedagogies for teachers. We have a small block on copyright and OER in the course. I wrote this message for the course but I am feeling unsure about it. Will really appreciate if I can get an expert’s advice on whether this message is legally sound. Since the copyright laws vary across nations, we need to ensure that the messages apply to all countries.

“A teacher can screen a video made by a private firm and available on youtube for her students in her classroom. She does not need to take permission for screening it because screening copyright video to a small group of students is not ‘public distribution’.”

I believe that this is totally fine under the ‘fair use’ clause but since many countries do not have the same exceptions, I am feeling unsure.

Hi @shraddha

We have a free online course on Open Education and Copyright starting today (9 September 2020) which will help in answering questions about copyright in teaching.

Yes, you are correct in pointing out that the interpretation of Copyright is determined by the national copyright act of the country concerned.

The permissions for displaying Youtube videos are determined by the Copyright license of the video (which in the case of Youtube will be the standard Youtube license or a Creative Commons Attribution license.) In terms of the standard license, videos can be shown if they are displayed using the embeddable Youtube player.

In short, the usage of Youtube videos is determined by the terms of service and license displayed on the Youttube website - not specifically the size of a group of students in this case.


Hello @shraddha Hope that you have registered for the free online course on Open Education and Copyright as @Mackiwg has indicated. In the mean time, You can share that resource as a URL in your course with proper identification to your students, if you are using moodle, it has URL resource.
Best wishes


Thank you for your response.Really appreciate it!
Based on your comment and my reading of youtube’s policy, I am editing the message to :

A teacher can screen any video available on youtube for students in their classroom. They don’t need to take permission when screening it using YouTube player itself. As per youtube standard licence “ You may show YouTube videos through the embeddable YouTube player.”

Thank you for telling me about the course. I will surely explore it.

Hi Shraddha,

Yes that is now correct.

Of interest, because the OERu’s Open Education, Copyright and Open Licensing is OER - As @ramesh, as Ramesh has suggested you can share the link with all students in your course. They can participate for free and earn a competency certificate in Copyright and Creative commons licensing.

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