Practical advice for schools using YouTube videos

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YouTube: practical advice for teachers

Unless explicitly stated, all YouTube videos (and other online videos) are under copyright. Unless the video is licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons licence, the videos may not be downloaded for use in the classroom unless the educational exemptions of the NZ Copyright Act apply.

Amongst other things, the educational exemptions state that one copy of a film can be made on one occasion for use in the course of preparation, or in the course of instruction, of a lesson on making films and soundtracks. However, the person doing the copying must be the person giving the lesson (or must be doing it on their behalf), or be the student (or on their behalf).

This exemption does not enable teacher or student to repost the video, or parts of the video (like a mashup) outside the classroom – including online, like on YouTube or on a blog. This is because the educational exemptions to the Copyright Act do not extend to communicating/showing works, unless explicitly permitted to by copyright holders. Such works may only be used within the classroom.

Any work that is used must be acknowledged appropriately to avoid plagiarism.

What this means for teachers:

  • Unless you are conducting a lesson about making films or using digital media, do not download YouTube videos, stream them from YouTube directly.  If you are worried about the video loading in time, practice pre-loading and playing the video before the lesson.
  • If you are going to download a video for use in a lesson on making films, soundtracks, or digital media, only make one copy of it on one occasion.
  • Understand that the exemption in the Act means that you cannot communicate or show this video (or parts of it) outside the classroom, including online in anyway (e.g., on YouTube, or on class blogs etc.).
  • Acknowledge copyright holders appropriately: publish the names of the copyright holder(s), the URL, and the date accessed (e.g., By brendanschlagel on YouTube at accessed 22 September 2011.).
  • Where possible use Creative Commons licensed videos and meet the requirements of these licenses – this will enable you to share the material outside of the classroom (including electronically). The National Library has produced a very useful document explaining some of these points (and other ones).

We have produced a flowchart to explain how teachers and students can use YouTube videos (or similar videos) in the classroom. View the flowchart image below or download the PDF version for reference (5MB).


Helpful Resources:

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