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Home > Using Copyright > Common Uses > Televised Instruction

Televised Instruction

Televised instruction is a special situation:

  • Distance learning exemptions do not apply
  • Broadcasting to a large audience

  • If using music, more issues arise

What can you use in televised instruction without permission?

  • Your own materials
  • Public domain materials

  • Materials for which you have permission to record and broadcast

Why is this list so limited?
Recordings of lectures or presentations may require permission from copyright owners even when the use of the same materials in a lecture that is not recorded may not. While it seems reasonable that teaching is teaching, whatever the format, the law is not set up this way.

The 'teaching' exemption in the law is limited to face-to-face instruction and transmission of materials to enrolled students. Any broadcast that is not limited to enrolled students is not covered by the teaching exemption.

What are the restrictions on using music in televised instruction?
Music is a complex copyright work with many rights holders. If you are then taping a lecture or event that includes music, a synchronization license may be required. Read more about using music with video in the Compilation, Music and Images section.

Does fair use apply?
Depending on what materials you want to use, your use may still be a fair use, but it is likely to apply only in limited circumstances.

Review the fair use factors and evaluate if this applies to your situation. It is best not to rely on fair use for televised instruction and it is recommended that should seek permission for this specific


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