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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.

May 6, 2022

This document intends to clarify instructor guidelines for digitizing content in the Academic Multimedia Lab or on their own. Instructors 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, instructors 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 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:

Under the Classroom Exception rule, instructors 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.

For assistance in media production and conversion visit media services for more information regarding video, graphics, closed captioning, and more.


Please email

We do not monitor instructor compliance with copyright law, but our units comply fully with the parameters described above.