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Streaming Video @ Your Library: Additional Streaming Video Options

Find resources related to Streaming Video in this guide

Streaming Video in the Classroom

Q. Can I stream [this title] in the classroom?

If the service and/or film, has provisions for educational screenings on its content and it is available for purchase, the library might be able to purchase a one-time educational screening license or purchase the film for students to view individually through the library catalog's databases or for check out (i.e. DVD, CD)

Using Personal Accounts

Q. Can I just use my personal account?

Most streaming services have very detailed membership agreements that may forbid the streaming of subscribed content in a classroom or other public venue. When you agree to the terms of membership, you enter into a contract and the terms of that contract trump any applicable exception in copyright. Therefore, if the membership agreement prohibits the showing of the film in a classroom, you are bound by the terms of that agreement even if the face to face teaching exception would otherwise allow it.

Attribution & CC License

This page was modified from content presented in University of Michigan's Media in the Classroom library guide.

Free & Low Cost Access

We encourage instructors who plan to show films as part of their class, particularly when the class is taught online, to investigate options that do not require their students to pay for access via memberships or subscriptions, to provide equity in access to free learning materials and remove financial barriers for students.

Non-Library Resources for Free & Legal Streaming Video

To find more streaming video options, click on the 'Non-Library Streaming Video' tab. There are many sources for streaming video content available that students can access on their own for free. 

Some online sources for free and legal streaming content:

  • PBS Videos - PBS streams some of its content freely online; however, what is available is subject to change without notice. Additionally, PBS Passport is available to those who donate to their local PBS station on a monthly basis.
  • TED Talks - TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.
  • OpenCulture.com - A thoughtful collection of links to hundreds of Indie Films, Film Noir, Documentaries & More. The list includes films by directors like Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, Ken Loach, Sergei Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Capra, Luc Besson, Godard, Hawks, Kubrick, and many more.
  • Annenberg Foundation Learner Resources - Teacher resources across the curriculum - short films on a variety of subjects.
  • OpenVideo Project - A Project of the School of Library and Information Science at UNC Chapel Hill. The purpose of the Open Video Project is to collect and make available a repository of digitized video content for the digital video, multimedia retrieval, digital library, and other research communities.
  • Top Documentary Films - More than 1200 documentary films available for streaming. Subjects are varied and cover a wide range of personal, social, scientific, political, historical topics.
  • FolkStreams - A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures streamed with essays about the traditions and film-making. The site includes transcriptions, study and teaching guides, suggested readings, and links to related websites.

Commercial Streaming Services in the Classroom

Netflix allows some of its documentaries to be shown in a face-to-face educational setting, however you must check to see if the content has a "Grant of Permission for Educational Screenings." Netflix has created a YouTube playlist of 35 of its educational documentaries for instructors to stream in their online classes.

When agreeing to Hulu Terms and Conditions upon account creation, specifications state that "using the services, including accessing and viewing the Content on a streaming-only basis, [is for] personal, non-commercial purposes." 

Hulu has not made provisions for educational screenings of its content. While classroom use would be non-commercial, it would not be considered personal use. Streaming Hulu content in a classroom setting would be a direct violation of licensing terms (section 3.2).

When agreeing to HBO Terms of Use upon account creation, specifications state that "You may not copy, reproduce, distribute, publish, enter into a database, display, perform, modify, create derivative works, transmit, or in any way exploit any part of this Service, except that you may access and display material and all other content displayed on this Service for non-commercial, personal, entertainment use on a single computer or device only." 

HBO has not made provisions for educational screenings of its content through personal accounts. While classroom use would be non-commercial, it would not be considered personal use. Streaming HBO content in a classroom setting would be a direct violation of licensing terms (section 6a).

When agreeing to Amazon Prime Video Terms and Conditions upon account creation, specifications state that "Amazon grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, limited license, during the applicable Viewing Period, to access and view the Digital Content in accordance with the Usage Rules, for personal, non-commercial, private use." 

Amazon has not made provisions for educational screenings of its content. While classroom use would be non-commercial, it would not be considered personal/private use. Streaming Amazon content in a classroom setting would be a direct violation of licensing terms (section 4h).