Q. Can teachers use Netflix videos in classes?


It depends.

The library does not subscribe to Netflix, nor does Netflix allow for institutional accounts that can be shared among faculty/students. Netflix also does not currently sell DVDs of their original content.

Does this prevent you, as an instructor, from logging into your personal account to show Netflix videos in the classroom or during a remote class?

Yes and No

In order to show a film in a public setting, producers and distributors require institutions to purchase public performance rights (PPR). If you are familiar with US copyright law (17 U.S. Code § 110), you may know that 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 in class. This includes restricted access synchronous online classes.

On the surface, it may seem as though Netflix would be a viable option for classroom use. However, Netflix works differently due to the terms of their user agreement. This agreement states:

"4.2 The Netflix service and any content viewed 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. Therefore, we generally do not endorse use of Netflix in classes due to the potential for copyright violations.

Now the YES...

Netflix is unique in that they do allow educational screenings of their "Netflix Original" documentaries - a collection of over 100 titles! See the links below for Netflix educational policies and to find and use the documentaries that are available for use in the classroom.

NOTE: Use of these videos for educational purposes must be done in real-time synchronous classes. Recording for asynchronous viewing outside the Netflix platform is forbidden.  Posting a link to a Netflix video would require each student to have their own Netflix account.
Sadly, other streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime do not currently provide exemptions for educational screenings of their proprietary materials.
  • Last Updated Dec 15, 2020
  • Views 86
  • Answered By Patrick Benner

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