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Use of Digital Media

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Showing Videos, Movies, DVD's and Television Recordings
How Does Copyright Law Affect Students, Student Groups
and Other Organizations on Campus?

Showing Videos/Movies/DVDs and Television Recordings

For educational purposes you may show or utilize any work as long as it relates to the curriculum, regardless of the medium, for face-to-face instruction in the classroom.  This includes movies/videos and television recordings.  If you plan to use movies/videos, the following guidelines should be observed.

  1. The audience must be limited to the students enrolled in the particular course, seminar, or group of courses.
  2. There should be an academic link to the showing of a movie/video.
  3. The showing of the movie/video should be listed in the course syllabus or seminar outline.
  4. Faculty responsible for the course or seminar should retain a record of the showing and the description of the academic activities incorporated around the showing.

Videos, movies, or DVDs purchased by the library may be viewed by groups of students in a library screening room as long as the showing meets the guidelines for face-to-face instruction. 

Viewing videos, movies, or DVDs outside the parameters for face-to-face instruction is considered either private or public viewing. Public viewing requires the purchase of a license. The rules apply whether or not admission is charged.

Private viewing is:

  1. A person’s private home or residence where the showing is for members of a family and a limited number of guests.

Public viewing is:

  1. A place open to the public where the performance is held or,
  2. A place where a substantial number of people who are not family members or friends is gathered.  “Friend” is somewhat loosely defined as “having a social relationship” with another person.

Videos, movies, or DVDs that are rented from video stores, purchased, or checked out of the library are for private home viewing purposes only. The purchase of a pre-recorded video/movie does not give the owner the right to a public performance of that video/movie whether admission is charged or not. Permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or a public performance license must be purchased. 

To determine who holds the copyright license and specific fees for a particular movie/film, contact one of the vendors listed below for assistance. For additional questions or assistance, please contact the Department of Student Affairs at (803) 323-2248.

Licensing Contacts

Company                                    Service Provided                           Web Site                 

Criterion Pictures USA               Non-theatrical film licensing     
Films For The Humanities           Educational Videos & Multimedia

First Run/Icarus Films                Independent film licensing        

Kino International                       Independent film licensing        

Motion Picture Licensing Corp.    Umbrella Licensing                  

Motion Picture, TV &
Theater Dir.                              Film, TV & Theatrical production dir.

New Yorker Films                      Independent film licensing        

Swank Motion Pictures               Non-theatrical film licensing     

Villon Film                                 Independent film licensing        

Wellspring Entertainment            Independent film licensing       
Zeitgeist Films                           Independent film licensing                 www.zeitgeistfilms

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How Does Copyright Law Affect Students, Student Groups, and Other Organizations on Campus?

The Guidelines for Clubs and Organizations at Winthrop University handbook outlines Winthrop’s current policy for how clubs and organizations may use copyrighted materials; officers of these groups receive training on these policies each fall in their orientation sessions. Consult the current issue of the Guidelines handbook and consult with the Office of Clubs and Organizations ( for specific advice. The handbook can be found on line at
The Office of Clubs and Organizations handles all dealings with public vendors that license works for public viewing. Please contact that office for a list of the vendors with whom Winthrop currently has a contractual relationship.

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