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Streaming Video

How to find and access streaming video titles (and DVDs) at the University of Dayton.

Commercial Streaming Platforms & Copyright

Note that UD Libraries does not subscribe to any commercial streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max. These platforms do not allow for institutional accounts, and as a result, there are restrictions on how this content can be used in the classroom.

  • Public performance rights (PPR) and commercial streaming platforms. Under US copyright law (17 U.S. Code § 110), the Federal Copyright Act does not require PPR for face-to-face classroom or teaching activities. This is why you are generally allowed to show films (any DVDs or VHS tapes owned by you or UD Libraries) in class, but this does not apply to commercial streaming platforms like HBO Max and Netflix because of the licensing terms within the individual subscriptions (see below for more info). All video streaming platforms that UD Libraries subscribes to are allowed to be viewed in the classroom because they are licensed to the institution.

  • Showing Netflix in the classroom: Note that Netflix has unique restrictions based on its user agreement, and UD Libraries generally does not endorse use of Netflix in classrooms due to the potential for copyright violations. Netflix's user agreement states: "any content accessed through our service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household (. . .) You agree not to use the service for public performances" (see Netflix's Terms of Use). Any third-party agreements, such as Netflix's, supersede US copyright law exemptions, such as those for classroom or teaching activities cited above. 

  • That being said, Netflix does allow educational screenings of a number of their Netflix original documentaries. This collection contains over 100 titles! See the instructions towards the bottom of this page for more info on how to identify whether or not a Netflix Original documentary is eligible for an educational screening.

  • Several other streaming services (namely, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu) do not currently provide exemptions for educational screenings of their proprietary materials (feature films and/or documentaries). Similar to Netflix, they do allow for non-commercial, personal/private use of their content. Since any viewing in the classroom would not be considered personal/private use, it would therefore be a direct violation of the platform's licensing terms.

If you have any further questions, please contact us to clarify.

Educational Screenings of Netflix Original Documentaries

To verify whether or not a Netflix documentary can be viewed in the classroom, do the following:

  • Go to and search for the title you plan to show. When you've located the film, click on the film to view the synopsis. Below is an example of what should open. If the film is available to show in an education setting, a notice reading "Before screening this title, read the . . ." will appear beneath the film's cover (as circled below). If there is no "Before screening this title, read the . . ." notice, then the film is not available to show in the classroom.
screenshot of netflix media center with a documentary with a grant of permission for educational screenings highlighted
  • Click on this notice to read the full disclaimer:
screenshot of netflix's disclaimer about granting permission for educational screenings 


This guide provides general information related to copyright, but does not provide legal advice. The creators assume no liability for the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of information provided on this site or linked sites. For legal advice, readers should contact a qualified attorney.

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