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Copyright in the Classroom

Copying and Distribution of Video for Educational Purposes

Streaming in Mediasite

Ball State relies on the Mediasite platform to allow instructors to share streaming video--including lectures and film or video clips--with students. Mediasite helps Ball State instructors comply with copyright law by offering password-protected access and by allowing students to view videos without downloading or sharing them outside the University.

To start using Mediasite in your course:

  1. You will need to contact Mediasite Administrator Mark Sanders in University Media Services to obtain access to an account.

  2. Once you have access to Mediasite, you will be able to upload video content on your own. You can upload and even record lectures, or you can create and upload film or video clips. (If you are uploading copyrighted material, you should refer to these tips for copyright in course websites and to the Copying and Distribution of Video for Educational Purposes guidelines.)

  3. If you need help creating streaming film or video clips, you should fill out and submit the Streaming Media Request form, which is reviewed by copyright experts in the University Libraries.

  4. Once your request is approved, University Media Services staff will coordinate video drop-off with you and will make video clips available in Mediasite. You can easily embed or link to Mediasite videos in Canvas. Here's a simple how-to guide created by Kansas State University.

Find Legal Videos Online

Many films and other video resources are made available legally online. These may be posted directly by the copyright holder, or they may be available through public domain or subscription collections. Whenever possible, linking to such content in your course website rather than storing the video in Mediasite will save time and minimize copyright risk. You should never share links to content you believe has been posted illegally. Unsure? Contact Copyright and Scholarly Communications Manager Donald Williams in the University Libraries.

A few good starting points for such films include:

  • Kanopy: Ball State University Libraries subscribe to this streaming video service, which includes many educational, documentary, indie, and international films. Kanopy allows you to create film clips and playlists, and videos can be embedded in Canvas.

  • PBS Video: A great resource for short videos, documentaries, and other PBS content. Looking for a specific title? Start with the search page.

  • Public Domain Movies: Many films released from the 1930s-1970s, including well-known titles like His Girl Friday and It's a Wonderful Life, are in the public domain and are no longer protected by copyright. This site aggregates such films, originally uploaded to Wikimedia or Internet Archive.

  • YouTube or Vimeo: Millions of films and videos are posted legally on YouTube or Vimeo by the creator or copyright holder, and these may be shared with students in an in-person or online class. But proceed with caution! Especially if you want to share an entire film, you should look carefully at who uploaded it and only share if you reasonably believe it was made available by the copyright holder.

Video, Copyright, & Accessibility

Ball State instructors have a legal and ethical responsibility to to ensure that video content is accessible to all enrolled students, including individuals with disabilities. Contact Jeff Bowers in University Media Services to coordinate captioning to adhere to Ball State's University Captioning Policy.

What about copyright? In most cases, instructors and staff rely on fair use in order to create and disseminate captions for accessibility purposes. Note that Kanopy and other video content providers increasingly make captions available with their content.