May I stream a Video for in-class use from Netflix, Disney+ or other streaming services ?

3 min. readlast update: 02.28.2024

The short answer is no, for the following reasons:

1.          It is a violation of associated End-User Licensing Agreements

2.          Most streaming services utilize a considerable amount of bandwidth on our network. While streaming will not be an issue in most cases, it can cause slowness to others when we have over 10,000 simultaneous connections at any given time on our network. Watching Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. 

The long answer and more details around streaming licensing, Copyright, & Fair Use:

Most streaming videos, unless they are older films in the Public Domain, are protected by copyright. However, there are statutory exceptions that allow educators to show all or portions of films in an educational classroom. Title 17, Section 110(1) of the United States Copyright Act, for example, states educators may show a “performance… of a work… in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made.

In other words, this section permits an educator to show a film, or a portion of a film, in a face-to-face classroom or a similar location, unless the copy of the film was unlawfully made. Therefore, if an educator at a K-12 entity, such as Yukon Public Schools, wants to show a film, or a portion of a film, for educational purposes in a face-to-face classroom, he or she is entitled to do so. Section 110(1) also mandates the film shown must be lawfully made. Thus, at first glance, section 110(1) appears to permit streaming Netflix videos to a classroom.

However, when one signs and/or accepts licensing and end-user agreements, he or she often gives away certain freedoms, such as copyright exceptions. The Netflix & Disney+ user agreements include verbiage of “the Software is only for your own personal, non-commercial use and not for use in the operation of a business or service bureau, for profit or for the benefit or any other person or entity.” Most copyright attorneys comprehend the phrase “for your own personal… use” as giving away your statutory exceptions to use section 110(1) and even section 107 (fair use). Thus, when one signs a licensing agreement with Netflix, he or she in essence is agreeing to only stream videos in the privacy of his or her own home. 

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