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Explaining aspects of copyright to be aware of when studying, lecturing or undertaking research. Please note that information on these pages is for guidance only: it does not constitute formal legal advice.

Using video material for educational purposes

An early reel-to-reel film camera
UK legislation has some allowances for the copying and use of video material, for example:
  1. A film may be shown to an audience consisting of teachers/lecturers and pupils/students and other persons directly connected with the activities of the establishment, providing it is shown: (a) by a teacher or pupil in the course of the activities of the establishment, or (b) at the establishment by any person for the purposes of instruction (Section 34(1 & 2) of the Act)
  2. A lecturer may copy from a film if this is for purposes of criticism and review--for example in a lecture to students--with the following provisos:
    • the work must have previously been made available to the public,
    • no more is copied than is necessary, for example to make the critical point in question,
    • the copy must be accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement wherever possible.

Online video resources

City has subscriptions to the following resources:

  • BoB (Box of Broadcasts): BoB is an off-air recording and media archive service which allows you to record TV and radio programmes, watch programmes from the archive, create clips, compile your favourite shows into playlists and share these with others. See more information below.
  • Media Plus: a collection of film, video and sound material. Includes access to British Paramount News, Channel 4 and 5 News, Gaumont British News and Graphic Newsreel, Programmes as Broadcast (PAB), Reporting 66-67, Reuters News, Roving Report and Visnews as well as a range of ITN material including: Clip Reel, Collections, News, Non-released, Open-ender, Reports and Rushes. To access Media Plus enter your City username and password.
  • TRILT (Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching) : TV & radio schedules ten days in advance, auto alerts. Recordings can be requested for some programmes.

A hand pointing a remote control at a TV displaying a panel showTelevision broadcasts

City has a licence with the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) which permits staff to record, for non-commercial educational purposes, broadcast output of ERA Members. Note that many digital-only broadcasters are not covered by the ERA Licence.

Appropriate recordings can be retained, stored and copied and relayed within the establishment, for example shown in class. Note that recordings must be labelled with an ERA notice (‘This recording is to be used only for educational and non-commercial purposes under the terms of the ERA Licence’), the name of the broadcaster, and the date and title of the recording.

Recordings may be made available via Moodle with the proviso that they are not accessible outside the UK.

Staff may show broadcasts from the BBC iPlayer, the ITV Player and Channel 4's 4oD service providing this is for educational purposes but these may not be recorded.

For details of what is both permitted and not permitted under the terms of the University's Educational Recording Agency (ERA+) Licence, please see the ERA website.

You may also use the Box of Broadcasts service to make your own collection of TV clips and programmes.

Showing DVDs in lectures

A blank DVD

The law allows commercially produced DVDs to be shown in lectures (and a copy to be made to allow this if necessary) for educational purposes. No more of the DVD than is necessary for the purpose should be shown.

A digital copy of a DVD may not normally be placed on a network (even a secure one like Moodle) without permission from the rightsholder. During the COVID-19 pandemic, if you really need to show a video online, please contact the Copyright Librarian, Stephen Penton, who may be able to recommend an acceptable way to do this, if a copy of the video is owned by the University.

If the DVD is not commercially available, then it is necessary to contact the production company. It may be necessary to obtain an educational licence from the company.

Any other use of a DVD will require a licence (e.g., showing for entertainment purposes). More information is available from the Government website.

Screening DVDs for educational use

Three rows of seats at a movie theatre shown from behind, and part of the projection screen

Playing or showing a complete sound recording, film or broadcast to teachers and students on University premises as part of educational activities is permitted by copyright law. As noted above, if you really need to do this online during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the Copyright Librarian, Stephen Penton, who may be able to recommend an acceptable way to do this.


Note though that this does not apply to a student film club or similar showing films to students in general for entertainment purposes, even if on University premises - licensing will be necessary.


Bear in mind that much material on YouTube is posted by third parties without permission. If rightsholders raise an objection to their material being used in this way it is likely to be removed from the site. If you link to or embed YouTube clips make sure they have been posted there by the person or organisation to whom that material belongs. If in doubt, judge how professional the video looks, or whether it has been posted by a recognised body (e.g., a broadcaster, an educational establishment). 

Making a video for educational purposes

It is always important to consider copyright when using video-based material to support teaching and learning.

Lecturers making their own video (of a lecture to make it available on Moodle, for example) might assume that they automatically hold copyright of such material, but there can be pitfalls. Care should be taken not to include material which originates in other sources: diagrams from books, for example, or accompanying music. In order to legally include this type of material, permission to do so must be granted by the relevant copyright holders.

Credits for images on this page

'Film camera' by Victor Villamarin (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Accessed from Flickr 09/07/2015

Untitled by freeimage4life (CC0 - public domain) Accessed from Flickr 25/09/2018

'DVD' by papanooms (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Accessed from Flickr 25/09/2018

'Rio cinema' by Leonid Mamchenkov (CC BY 2.0) Accessed from Flickr 25/09/2018