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This guide is informational and in no way constitutes legal advice.


The copyright holder has the exclusive right of performance but, there are exceptions or "limitation on exclusive rights" for in-class performance if these criteria are met:

  • Non-profit educational institution.
  • Shown in the course of face-to-face teaching activities in a classroom or normal instructional space.
  • The media was lawfully made and acquired.
  • Under instructor supervision, used in mediated instruction, and is integral to the curriculum.
  • Limited to enrolled students.



YouTube Videos

Like everything else, video creators own the copyright to their works and may choose to apply a Creative Commons license to their videos or to remove the embed code entirely to prevent embedding. However, embedding a video from YouTube, using the html embed code provided, is the same as linking because the video continues to be hosted on YouTube and is merely streamed.

Best Practice:

  1. Do not link to, embed, or show videos with infringing content.
  2. Check the license or filter for CC by conducting a search. Click on the "Filters" drop down. Select "Creative Commons" under Features.
  3. If in doubt about embedding a video, it's safe to provide a link.


From the American Library Association

"Educators and students use YouTube videos for classroom or assignment purposes. Are these uses lawful? If associated with a license agreement, it may be a breach of contract (but not an infringement of copyright) to use the videos for anything but private, non-commercial use. However, the use of YouTube videos in non-profit, educational settings is wide spread and common. Rights holders have not sued educational institutional for this use, so it may be a use that rights holders tolerate or find relatively harmless since there are no market implications. Using YouTube videos outside of the educational environment, especially for commercial purposes, may require permission."