Q. May faculty stream a film from Netflix in their classroom?

Answered By: Kathryn Ray
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2022     Views: 7

Netflix also has a Youtube channel where they provide free access to a small number of their “prestige” titles. There would be no restrictions on using 13th or Crip Camp, for example, from there.

Unfortunately, the Library is unable to make Netflix streaming titles available to screen in the classroom. Netflix only offers subscriptions to individuals and does not offer institutional subscriptions, like to a library. Personal subscriptions to Netflix are a license agreement between you and them, and as a contract, this supersedes any consideration of a “fair use” argument for classroom display. The Netflix Terms of Service restricts viewing to personal households.

4.2. The Netflix service and 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. During your Netflix membership, we grant you a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access the Netflix service and Netflix content through the service. Except for the foregoing, no right, title or interest shall be transferred to you. You agree not to use the service for public performances.

Netflix does give specific permission for education screening of some of their original content documentaries, such as American Factory. Titles which display the Netflix Grant of Permission for Educational Screenings can be used in a classroom setting. Unfortunately, Netflix does not provide a list of these titles on their website. A search for “grant of permission for educational screenings” brings back over 3,000 titles, but many of these are not documentaries and do not include the permission.

It is your choice whether to use a Netflix title in your classroom. It’s likely that the practical consequences of doing so are negligible.

Practical Considerations of Streaming Commercial VOD (Video on Demand) Media Through Zoom

Putting aside the legal issues of whether this is allowed or not, there are still substantial technical hurdles to successfully streaming VOD through Zoom. The first is that VOD providers can prevent the display of their content if they detect certain conditions on your computer such as a video output to a projector or an active teleconferencing app like Zoom. Secondly, streaming a live incoming signal takes a great deal of computer resources. Your computer has to have a fast enough internet connection to be simultaneously downloading the VOD stream and uploading the Zoom stream. The computer has to have the processing power and memory to simultaneously download, compile, and display the VOD, run the VOD display app, run the teleconferencing app, download  that stream and upload the screening display to the other participants.

We suggest that you always test your setup before attempting this in your class.

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