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Streaming Databases

It's on Netflix, can I show it to my class?

Short answer: NO but there are some Netflix Original documentaries which do grant permission for classroom use (see boxes below).

Long answer: The Netflix Terms of Use, which you agreed to when you created an account, specifies that the account is only "for your personal and non-commercial use." Netflix is not alone here; Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other personal streaming vendors do not grant rights for institutional or educational use.

This is important because licenses overrule copyright exemptions. Showing your personal DVD during class is covered by a specific copyright exemption (Section 110), and showing clips can be covered by fair use (Section 107). However, streaming videos from personal subscription vendors in your classroom when the license prohibits such viewings? There is no copyright exemption for that and the situation is problematic.

This is why the library offers to obtain streaming videos through institutional subscription vendors like Swank, Films on Demand, or Film Platform

Netflix and Educational Screening

Netflix and Educational Screening (taken from their website):

Some original educational documentaries are available for one-time educational screenings. To find out which titles are available for educational screenings, go to the "Only On Netflix" section of From here, navigate to "All Alphabetical." Titles that are available for educational screenings will display a Grant of Permission or an Educational Screenings Permission (ESP) on their details page. Please read the statement carefully to understand the terms and conditions of use.


Netflix created a YouTube channel that shares some of their educational documentaries for viewing without requiring a Netflix account.

©2014 St. Catherine University Library, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA