6:210 AP2 - Instructional Materials - Use of Feature Movies in Classrooms

Copyrighted entertainment movies can be legally shown in a classroom, without risking copyright infringement, if you have a Public Performance Site License, or, if ALL of the conditions of the Educational Exemption are met.

The Educational Exemption, also called the “face-to-face teaching exemption,” is a precise activity which allows the legal use of movies in certain types of teaching.  In order for a movie used as part of classroom instruction to be considered for an Educational Exemption, ALL of the following criteria must be met:

  • A teacher or instructor is present during the showing of the movie.
  • The showing takes place in a classroom setting with only the enrolled students attending.
  • The movie is used as an essential part of the core, current curriculum being taught. (The instructor should be able to prove how the use of the motion picture contributes to the overall required course study and syllabus.)
  • The movie being used is a legitimate copy, not taped from a legitimate copy or taped from TV.

If you are uncertain about your responsibilities under copyright law, consult with the Director of School and Community Relations. For specific requirements, please reference The Copyright Act of 1976, Public Law No. 94-553, 90 stat 2541: Title 17; Section 110(i).

There is a misconception that any use of a movie in a classroom is permissible because it is in the instructional setting.  This is not true.  For a movie to be used in a classroom without violating copyright laws, ALL the above conditions must be met.  For example, if rainy weather cancels Field Day and the teacher shows the class a feature film, this action is not covered under the Educational Exemption. 

Public Performance Site License
A Public Performance Site License can be obtained from Movie Licensing USA.  For specific information on Annual Licenses or a One-Time License, contact:

Movie Licensing USA
10795 Watson Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63127

Toll-Free Phone: 1-877-321-1300
Toll-Free Fax: 1-877-876-9873
Email: mail@movlic.com
(Please provide your name, title, school name, district and state)
Website:  www.movlic.com


NOTE:  Outdoor showings are not allowed or covered under either license

The District will not be purchasing a movie license for the District as a whole.  It is up to the schools to decide if they would like to purchase a license.

DATED:  August 2012 (JBl)