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Streaming Video and media

General Information about films and documentaries available from WCU Libraries, as well as online open source, Pay-per-view, and educational use

is it legal?

All films and videos in the libraries' collection are available for personal or educational use, regardless of where this takes place (an in-person class or online). Only some can be used for public viewing. 

  • Personal: Yes, it's legal if the screening is in a private space such as an apartment or a dorm room, the screening is NOT open to the public, and no one is charged for admission. 
  • Educational: Yes, but only if the screening is part of a teaching activity that is a part of the curriculum for a class as outlined in the syllabus, the viewers are students registered for the course, and the screening is NOT open to the public.  
  • On-Campus Public Screening: No, screening copyrighted work on campus for a club, guest lecture or a festival requires Public Performance Rights (PPR); this includes any non-classroom campus activities, no admission may be charged, and no money can be made from advertising. Only a hand full of our streaming or physical titles are available for such screening as it often requires additional payment and permissions. 

Copyright basics

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright laws in the United States protect "original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression." Copyright provides copyright owners with exclusive rights to:

  • reproduce (i.e. duplicate, photocopy, etc.) the work
  • prepare a derivative work
  • distribute copies of the work
  • perform the work publicly
  • display the work publicly

Fair Use allows for legal use of copyrighted material without permission. To be considered Fair Use four factors must be considered:

  • Purpose and character of the use
  • Nature of the original work
  • Amount of the original work used
  • Effect on the value of the original work

Find out more about Copyright on the Faculty Resources page or the United States Copyright office page.

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