Digitizing Videos for UIC Courses

Federal Copyright Restrictions on Digitizing Videos for UIC Courses

Note: This notice was created to provide basic copyright information and is not a substitute for legal advice.

August 7, 2020

LTS and the UIC Library are committed to supporting faculty through the challenges that accompany remote teaching, and we regret that Covid-19 constrains such support. LTS is not currently able to assist with digitizing on campus. The Library cannot provide reserve DVDs for students, and it is usually not possible for libraries to license commercial films for streaming.  However, as long as our budget permits, the Library will attempt to license videos that offer academic streaming options when possible to meet course objectives.

This document intends to clarify faculty options for digitizing content on their own. Faculty may purchase the DVD or borrow the Library copy and digitize portions with HandBrake in compliance with Fair Use. Any digitized videos must be uploaded to a streaming service (such as Panopto, available through Blackboard) for student access and viewing.

As has always been the case, faculty must make a fair use assessment for digitizing videos – this goes beyond a curricular need.  This includes:

  • The individual or the Library must own a legal copy of the video.
  • The use must be instructional, and only the portion of the work relevant for instructional goals may be used.
  • Digitized video clips must be on a streaming server (rather than posting a file) and must be removed after the material is used in the course.
  • The portion digitized must fall within Fair Use.See https://researchguides.uic.edu/copyright/videofairuse for further guidance.


A fair use claim cannot be made for videos that are available on streaming services for a reasonable rental fee. Although the Library regrets any cost being passed to students, this is similar to student purchase of a textbook.

Alternatives include:
  • Identify a video from existing library streaming platforms.
  • Contact your liaison librarian to inquire about purchasing a streaming copy or DVD.

Under the Classroom Exception rule, faculty at UIC may show legal video copies in an in-person class setting, but they may not stream a video online during online courses. The TEACH Act, which allows for live in-class streaming, does not apply to UIC because we do not have a copyright policy (which would actually limit broader claims of fair use). However, Fair Use options still apply.


Please email copyright@uic.edu.


LTS and Library do not monitor faculty compliance with copyright law, but our units comply fully with the parameters described above.