Audio and Video

Using audio and video on campus


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.

Student Society Film Screenings

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 Criterion Pictures or permission from the copyright owner directly.

If you are unsure whether or not public performance is allowed, please email all pertinent information to

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 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 the Copyright Office to see if your film might be covered under an existing license.
  • If yes, proceed to contact Campus Bookings to secure the space you require with confirmation from the Copyright Office that the screening has been authorized.
  • If it is not covered, contact the copyright holder or rights administrator to secure permission.
  • Once permission has been obtained directly from copyright owner or administrator, proceed to confirm this with Campus 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.

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.

A Note About Classroom Recording of Lectures

Check with your instructor and verify that you have permission to record a lecture before doing so. Copyright in the lecture would belong to your instructor and any presenters (if applicable) as they would own their "performances" under copyright law.  Notes that you may take during the class belong to you unless they represent the material presented verbatim.  

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.