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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

What UK legislation allows for copying and re-use of video material

  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

Audiovisual resources available at City

  • 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.

Information about more discipline-specific audiovisual resources are available on subject library guides.


Television broadcasts

A hand pointing a remote control at a TV displaying a panel showUsing television programmes for teaching

City has a licence from 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.

Code of Fair Practice for the use of Audiovisual works in Film Education

The Code of Fair Practice for the use of Audiovisual works in Film Education, supports educators in using audiovisual material (that is not broadcast material) in their teaching. It aims to help educators make fair decisions, and assess risk relating to when and how much of copyrighted audiovisual works can be made available to students. The Code is relevant to using audiovisual content in any discipline.

If you have any questions please contact the Copyright Librarian.

Using DVDs in lectures

A blank DVD

The law allows extracts from commercially produced DVDs to be shown in lectures for educational purposes. No more of the DVD than is necessary for the purpose should be shown, but it can be included in a recording.

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.

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.

DVD screenings for educational use

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

Holding a showing of a complete sound recording, film or broadcast, outside of a lecture, to teachers and students on University premises as part of educational activities, is permitted by copyright law, if there is a good educational reason to show the complete work.

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 - a licence will be necessary.

If an ‘in-person’ showing of a film is not possible, because of students studying remotely or the required video material is not available from educational streaming services, there are other possible options, though these carry more risk. It is important that both the individual and the institution are comfortable with this higher level of risk before proceeding with the approaches.

You should contact City’s Copyright Librarian if you might want to adopt these approaches. They are described in the Code of Fair Practice for the Use of Audiovisual works in Film Education: Section D - Format Shifting of Film Content.

Another scenario addressed by the Code of Fair Practice is showing video material from personal streaming services for educational purposes (whether online or in-person). Whilst the terms and conditions of these services don’t allow this, the Code does suggest that it may be justifiable if it is necessary for the educational purpose, and is only done exceptionally. However, this does also carry some risk.

Netflix does have some documentaries that can be used for educational purposes (even from a personal account) – see Educational screenings of documentaries on their website, and the playlist on YouTube which Netflix created during the pandemic.


Bear in mind that much material on YouTube is posted by third parties without permission. If rightsholders raise an objection to their material being on YouTube, it is likely to be removed from the site, and then the link you provided will be of no use.

If you link to or embed YouTube videos, make sure they have been posted there by the person or organisation to whom that material belongs.

If in doubt consider the following points:

  • Judge how professional the video looks - if poor quality, it may be a copy that has been posted illegitimately, or it may be from a source that is not reputable.
  • If a video has been created and put on YouTube by a recognised body (e.g. a broadcaster, an educational establishment), then it is likely to be fine to link to.

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) must be aware of the copyright status of anything they include from other sources. Care should be taken with material which originates from other sources: large amounts of from books, for example, or accompanying music. In order to legally include this type of material, permission to do so may be needed from the relevant copyright holders (or you may be able to use material licenced for educational use.

There may be copyright considerations with making such videos available outside of City,


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