Classroom Use ‑ Audio/Video/Film

Copyright and AV/Film Use

The public display of audio/visual materials on campus falls under the Copyright Act of Canada. Uses of such materials on campus is covered in a number of different ways. First, a fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act allows for certain uses. Secondly, section 29.5 of Canada's Copyright Act allows for screening for educational or training purposes by a faculty or staff member of the university.

In addition, the Library has subscribed to the National Film Board's Screening Room service. Under this agreement, any film available as streaming video from the NFB website can be screened in the classroom or before a group.

In Class


The Dalhousie Libraries and various academic departments own collections of films in VHS and DVD format as well as electronic resources. There is an exception in the Copyright Act (Section 29.5) that allows for the performance of films/feature films on the premises of an institution without the permission of the copyright owner and without payment. This exception is subject to a number of conditions.

Under the exception in Section 29.5, works may be shown by faculty, staff to students, without permission of or compensation to copyright owners, provided the screening takes place on the premises of an educational institution, the recording is a legally acquired copy, used in pursuit of education to an audience consisting mainly of students with no admission being charged. 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.

In-class Screening Checklist:

  • Ensure your screening takes place on the premises of the Institution.
  • Ensure the audience consists mainly of students.
  • Ensure the screening is directly related to the curriculum
  • Ensure the copy you'll be screening is a legally acquired copy.
  • Ensure that no admission is charged.

If you require a space larger than that of your classroom in order to hold your screening, contact the Campus Bookings department to secure the space you require on campus. (This step is not required if you will be using your classroom for the screening)

Non-classroom Related Uses

Non-educational uses of video such as those by student societies for events which would not normally be considered to be directly related to the curriculum require public performance licenses from Audio-Cine Films, Criterion Pictures or permission from the copyright owner directly.

Room Booking and Film Performance Rights

Before being permitted to book space on the Dalhousie campus for the purpose of screening a film that is outside of an educational, curriculum related purpose, individuals and groups (such as student societies) must ensure and be able to demonstrate that public performance rights have been acquired.

Please contact the Copyright Office for help in determing if your film could potentially be covered by a Public Performance licence the University has signed. Please gather as much information about the film as you can before contacting us at

Once you have been cleared by the Copyright Office to screen your film, please book your room using through the Campus Bookings website. You can also email Campus Bookings at, or phone them at 902-494-1051 to request your space.

In cases where performance rights are held by an independent agency, production company or distributor, it will be necessary to contact them and request permission to screen the film. It may be necessary as well to pay a fee for one-time screening rights. Users are responsible for any costs associated with acquiring the public performance rights. Please keep copies of any permissions you receive.

Non-classroom Related Screening Checklist:

  • Check with Copyright Office to see what permissions you may require.
  • Once permission has been obtained directly from copyright owner or administrator, proceed to confirm this with Event Bookings and the Copyright Office in order to secure your space. Wherever possible, forward a copy of the permissions agreement to the Copyright Office.
  • Follow the terms of the license or agreement you receive (stipulations such as no admission fee, etc.).

Films with Public Performance Rights

Halifax Public Libraries has a number of films available that have been purchased with attached Public Performance Rights (PPR). To search the Halifax Public Libraries Website, please use the following instructions:

  1. Go to, click on Search, and then click on the Advanced Search option.
  2. From the Advanced Search screen, click in the field with the heading "Enter your advanced search here..." This produces a message that states the rest of the search form will be hidden, but this will not affect your search.
  3. In the Advanced Search Field, type "no:(public performance rights)" and click Search. This will retrieve all of the Halifax Public Libraries titles with PPR (about 700+).

Videos on the Internet

With proper attribution and citation, you are also able to reproduce legitimately posted works that are made available through the Internet. Use may not be permitted, however, if any of the following are evident:

  • If the works are protected by "digital locks" or;
  • A clearly visible notice is posted on the website or the work (not simply the copyright symbol itself).

In order to identify or discover any information on permissible uses or for permissions contact information, it's often necessary to explore sections of a website such as "Terms of Use" or "Legal Notices". Ensure that the content you wish to use has been legally put there by the copyright owner.

For instance, if you wanted to make use of material off of your personal Netflix account, you would first need to ensure that your use did not contradict Netflix's terms of use.

Live-streaming of video and audio content from legitimately uploaded sources on the open web to a classroom is permissible, provided the content is not downloaded or saved prior to the presentation, unless otherwise stipulated by the copyright owner.

Questions or comments?

We'd be happy to help out. Please send us your copyright questions and comments.

Dalhousie Libraries Copyright Office website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.