Guidelines: the Performance of Copyrighted Works


The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of the Chancellor has established the following guidelines relating to the performance of copyrighted works in the classroom, distance education and in public settings, for educational purposes based on copyright law, including the recently enacted TEACH Act.

Classroom Performances for Teaching Purposes

Educators at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities colleges and universities may show, display or perform others' work in the classroom, including videos, motion pictures, other similar audiovisual works, music materials, dramatic works, and other copyrighted works under the following conditions:

  1. The showing or displaying of the work is done in the classroom or similar place devoted to instruction.
  2. The teacher and the students must be in the same location.
  3. The audience must be composed of members of one class only.
  4. The showing or displaying of the work must be part of systematic instruction, which does not include recreational or cultural programs.
  5. The showing or displaying of the work must be the decision of the instructor, a student, or a guest lecturer.
  6. In the case of videotape, film, or other audiovisual work, the work must have been lawfully obtained.

Provided these conditions are met, few restrictions are placed on educators' use of others' work in a face-to-face classroom setting.

Transmission of copyrighted works (Distance Education)

Educators at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities' accredited non-profit colleges and universities may also show, display or perform others' work in distance education settings, just not to the same extent as in face-to-face classroom settings. The amount and type of work that may be broadcast or otherwise transmitted in a distance education setting are dictated by a recent revision to copyright law called the TEACH Act.

For further information, see the Teach Act

Public Performances

Public Performances: The following guidelines apply to public performances of copyrighted works at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities:

  • The public performance of videos, motion pictures, or other similar audiovisual works without permission from the copyright holder is prohibited.
  • The public performance of non-dramatic works and musical works without the permission from the copyright holder is prohibited, except in the following circumstances:
    1. The performance is not a broadcast or otherwise transmitted to the public (for example, via an internet, radio, or television broadcast)
    2. The performance is without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage (i.e., is not a profit-making venture);
    3. The performance is without any payment of a fee or compensation to performers, promoters, or organizers of the performance; and
    4. There is no direct or indirect admission charge, or if there is one, the proceeds after deducting the reasonable costs of producing the performance are used exclusively for educational, religious, or charitable purposes and not for private financial gain.
      Even if the above circumstances are satisfied, if the copyright owner objects to the performance in writing at least seven days before the performance, the performance may not be held.
  • Per the Office of the Chancellor, "public performance" is defined as follows:
    1. to perform or display the work at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
    2. to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause a) above or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether he members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or different times.
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