Copyright at the University Library: Videos & Public Performance Rights

Use of Video and Audio


Audio-visual works may be shown to students on the premise of an educational institution as long as the recording is a legal, commercial copy played for the purpose of education, the audience is primarily students, and no profit is gained. There is no longer the need to ensure a public performance license is in place.  Works may be performed live (such as a play) without permission under these conditions as well.

Non-educational uses of video for events, entertainment, ambience require  Public Performance Rights (PPR).  In Canada, two companies hold the majority of non-theatrical public performance rights for feature films: Audio Ciné Films (ACF) and VEC/Criterion. Licenses for these types of events may be arranged through these companies for an additional fee. Keep copies of any permissions you receive.

Videos from websites

You may also reproduce any legitimately posted works that are available through the Internet, provided that the source and author are attributed, unless the works are protected by TPMs (“digital locks”) or a clearly visible notice is posted on the website or the work (not simply the copyright symbol itself), which prohibits the activity. Do not reproduce any content that you know, or suspect, has been illegally posted. Look under the “Terms of Use” or “Legal Notices” of the webpage for information on permissible uses and contact information for permissions. If you are required to seek permission to use the content, please keep a copy of any permissions you receive.

Live-streaming of video and audio content from the open web (such as YouTube, and not from a password protected site, or a site to which access is restricted) in a classroom presentation is permissible, provided the content is not downloaded or saved prior to the presentation. Always provide a link, rather than embedding the player.

Audio Recordings

Sound recordings such as cassettes, CDs or electronic audio can be played in an educational institution without an additional public performance license as long as the recording is played for the purpose of education, the audience is primarily students, and no profit is gained.  The sound recording must be a legal, commercial copy.  Live music may be performed without permission under these conditions as well.

Non-educational uses of music such as for concerts, dances, entertainment, sporting events, ambience, music on hold for telephones, etc. require public performance licenses through the Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

Permission must be obtained to reproduce a song that you do not own/did not create.  The Canadian Musical Reproductions Rights Agency (CMRRA) can grant a mechanical license that authorizes the reproduction of music on CDs.  For reproductions of the musical work in audio-visual productions – films and video, they can grant a synchronization license. 

Television or radio programs

A television or radio program may be recorded off-air for preview purposes, except for documentaries, provided the copy is kept no longer than 30 days.  After 30 days, the copy must be destroyed.  If the program is to be used in an educational setting or kept beyond the 30-day preview period, royalties must be paid. Any recording is subject to record keeping provisions.

A radio or television news program or news commentary may be recorded off air and used in an educational setting. There is no limit on the length of time the recording may be kept and payment of royalties is not required.

Televised Classes

Material for telecommunication and distance learning courses may be communicated to students and/or recorded for later viewing or listening. The university must take measures (such as use of passwords and/or digital locks) to limit the audience only to students enrolled in the course. Also the students and the university must destroy any recordings made within 30 days after the final course evaluations have been received.

From Video and Audio General Information U of S Copyright web page

Finding Videos in the Library Catalogue

If you know the name of the video you are looking for, ex: Psychology of Advertising, enter this in the Title field in the catalogue.

If you are looking for videos on a specific topic, ex: psychotherapy, enter the keyword(s) and choose Audio Visual Collection from the pull-down menu (labelled Entire Collection).