Can I use clips from commercial DVDs on my VLE site?


Provided the purpose of placing the clips in the VLE is limited to illustration for instruction, and the copying is 'fair' in that it does not negatively impact on the market for the original work then academic staff can place copies of clips from commercial DVDs in the VLE.  This is S.32 (illustration for educational purposes) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. However, as is would be a breach of the law to bypass DRM technology (see below) in order to place such clips online, this means that only clips from those DVDs that do not contain such protection could be uploaded. 

The use must also be non-commercial and sufficiently acknowledged. Restricting access to the learners who are enrolled on the particular course will support the contention that the use is 'fair'.

The S.32 exception allows for clips from commercial DVDs to be accessed by distance learners via a password-protected VLE – they may be subject to copyright restrictions in their own countries, and the clip would be subject to fair dealing amounts, proper acknowledgement, genuine use for illustration, etc.

However, digital rights management remains unchanged. Digital rights tools are added by publishers to manage and protect their publications e.g. audio-visual works, and circumventing DRM is still a copyright infringement. If bypassed for the purposes of making an accessible copy, the institution must try to reinstate the original protection – if reasonable (i.e. doing so wouldn’t make it inaccessible again).

We would suggest using clips from Box of Broadcasts or other copyright-cleared media sources wherever possible.



  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • Views 157
  • Answered By Elaine Pocklington

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