Skip to main content


Using film and audiovisual media in the classroom and online

Academics can screen feature films, documentaries and other video content in their classrooms for educational purposes. When working with lecture capture or the LMS, educators may copy and communicate excerpts of video material for educational purposes under an exception in the Copyright Act known as “flexible dealing” or section 200AB.

All video content must be from legitimate sources.

In the classroom
  • Academics can screen video content for education purposes.

Flexible dealing
  • Academics can copy and communicate excerpts of video material for educational purposes under an exception in the Copyright Act known as flexible dealing or section 200AB.

    Flexible dealing was introduced into the Copyright Act in 2006 with the aim of providing a “flexible exception” to enable copyright material to be used for socially beneficial purposes, including but not limited to “educational instruction”.

    Flexible dealing can be a complex exception to apply in practice and academics should discuss their use of video resources with Copyright Services.

    Flexible dealing only applies where:

    • The use is for "educational instruction". You must have a clear educational purpose in mind at the time. "Just in case" copying is not permitted under the flexible dealing exception. Only copy what you need for the specific educational purpose
    • Access is strictly limited to those students and staff engaging in the educational instruction (eg protected by Unikey)

    In addition to the above, your use must be "reasonable". Your use is likely to be unreasonable where:

    • you can purchase the material you are copying in the format required or obtain a licence for your proposed use on reasonable terms
    • you have used more than what is required for the purpose of educational instruction
    • you expose the material to a risk of piracy
Labelling and attribution
  • Material copied under section 200AB of the Copyright Act should be labelled to include the author and/or copyright owner of the work, the name, title of the work, date the copy was made. If the copy is from an online source, include the URL.


This information is provided as general information only. It provides a basic introduction to copyright and is not intended to be comprehensive.

Reviewed December 2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have died.

The University of Sydney Library acknowledges that its facilities sit on the ancestral lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have for thousands of generations exchanged knowledge for the benefit of all. Learn more