Campus Policy for Commercial Videos

The University of Michigan-Dearborn seeks to comply with U.S. Copyright law regarding the showing of commercial videos.

Fair Use provisions are defined in US Code Title 17, § 110. “Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays.”

We may show a commercial video without a public performance license when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The film or video is chosen by the instructor;
  • It is shown in a face-to-face setting in a classroom;
  • The content of the video is directly related to and of material assistance to the teaching of the course;
  • It is an integral part of a class session;
  • The showing is limited to students officially enrolled in the course;
  • The film or video is lawfully obtained.

Other uses require a public performance license. These uses include:

  • Film or videos were chosen by someone other than the instructor;
  • Settings, where viewers other than students enrolled in the class have been invited;
  • Colloquia showings not part of the official campus schedule and without specific and official enrollees;
  • Films or videos shown outside the classroom;
  • Films or videos not directly supporting the course material.

The maximum legal penalty for abuse of the copyright provisions for commercial films and videos is $150,000 per incident plus attorneys’ fees.  The Office of the General Counsel is not obligated to defend informed infringement of copyright.

Policy approved by the Council of Deans on October 6, 2006.

For answers to questions about this policy, contact Joel Seewald,, 313-583-6326.

For assistance in locating films for use in courses, please contact the Mardigian Library.

Public performance licenses may be purchased through:





Policy owned by: Mardigian Library

Last Reviewed: 1/2020

Last Updated: 7/2020

Next Review: 9/2021