Answered By: Katie Hutchison
Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016     Views: 12516

We spoke with a Netflix representative (on 10/24/2012), who said they have no problem with a teacher streaming a movie to a class and know of several colleges and universities that do that.

Just remember that this was just one employee's interpretation, and they would not officially promote this idea or put it in writing.

To show a movie it needs to be under fair use, therefore, you need to tie what you are showing to education (it isn't automatically educational just because you are inside a school building).

For example, it is not fair use to show a movie just because you're sick and do not want to teach and then never mention the movie again, BUT it is totally OK to show a film that in some way relates to what you are teaching.

Comments (2)

  1. I have had a similar experience. If you call Netflix they will verbally grant permission to stream content in a classroom. That said, they will not put that guarantee in writing. At best I would take Netflix blessing as turning a blind eye to classrooms or libraries streaming content from their site rather than outright legal clearance. If you search online you will find there is a very large gray area when it comes to whether streaming content from online sources such as Netflix or Hulu is in fact legal so it is best to proceed with caution. Keep in mind that when you stream Netflix can indentify you by your personal user account and your employer by its IP address. While Netflix has not prosecuted a school for violation of their terms of service yet that does not mean they never will and if they choose to do so they will have all of the information they need to fine you and your employer.
    by Victor Sage on Mar 22, 2014.
  2. Good response, Victor. I also called Netflix about this in 2014, as we were having a lot of teachers wishing to use personal accounts to stream movies not related to direct curricular ties. Netflix had no problem with that, UNLESS it was a copyright violation, which it definitely is. Our school district has made it clear that individuals will be responsible if we choose to violate copyright laws.
    by Teacher librarian on Jul 16, 2017.

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