Information Technology Services

Video Use as an Online Course Component

Video use as an online course component 

Bethel University Policy

Video is like any other element you use in a course. If you "distribute" materials to students in your class, then you need appropriate copyright permissions for such use. This is true for ANY copyrighted media you use in your course if you "distribute" the materials. Placing a pdf, video clip, or video for use in your course, regardless of the source could be considered distribution.

There are exceptions when an institution purchases a blanket license for materials like Bethel has done with full text articles found in our Library databases or for e-books, or for licensed media delivery. These are essentially use with permission as the permissions are "pre-purchased" by the institution. So a link to an e-book, library database article using the persistent URL, or to a licensed video are permissible.

We have developed a media process for currently owned library media to ensure legal use of multimedia as online components of both online and face-to-face courses. This process is subject to change over time as law, interpretations of law, and demands of the educational process change. We are also requesting that the University provide funds for legal licensing of copyrighted multimedia (movies or educational video) as online components of courses to enhance a deeper learning experience.


1. Submit a Copyrighted Media Request Form. The form can be found on Blackboard via the Bethel Blackboard Support Tab, under the Faculty/Staff link, under the "Video Content" group –"Request for Streaming Media Video".

You must supply a budget number and have approval from your budget manager for up to $350, before we will proceed with step 2.

2. Upon receipt of your form we will initiate a permissions query to the publisher/vendor. This may take two weeks or even longer as not all vendors respond right away. If we already have permissions for the item requested, then we will add a link to your Blackboard course or explain the process for your learners to gain access to the media.

3. Once a vendor responds about permissions, we will contact you to let you know the cost if it exceeds $350.  If less than $350 we will proceed and will bill the account number you have  provided. We are hoping to have access to a budget line to cover permissions, however if the University does not provide funding, we will ask you for a budget number prior to "purchasing" the permissions for the use of the media in a course.

4. Once we have permissions then we will link the media to your course.

5. Clips may be permissible for use for classes without permissions under fair use guidelines (up to 20%). We still need the submission of the Copyrighted Media Request Form and in addition need the timeline (from to) of the clip and an explanation of start and stop points helps as well. We do NOT recommend that instructors try to publish clips to Blackboard as these should be streamed (no download allowed) from our media server.

6. You may be able to schedule showings of media via our Adobe Connect tool in some cases for online courses. This requires scheduling a viewing time or times for your class (as you would do if they were in a room on campus) and allows you to interact with them via the chat tool in Adobe Connect before, during, or after the viewing. Schedule an Adobe Connect Session (instructor training required and 2 weeks for media preparation recommended).

If you are interested here are some links that explain more about copyright.

Gerber, Kent. Copyright at Bethel University

Kolowhich, S. 2010 "Hitting Pause on Class Videos". Inside Higher Ed Newsletter. Available online:, A trade group goes after UCLA for posting copyrighted videos on course Websites -- and hints that other colleges might be next. (January 26, 2010)

Xavier University:

Crews, K. D. 2003 . Crews, K. D. 2003. Copyright and distance education: Making sense of the TEACH act. Change 35 (6):34-39.

Shaw, M. H., and B. B. Shaw. 2003. Copyright in the age of photocopies, word processors, and the internet. Change 35 (6):20-27.