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Copyright Toolkit

Copyright Information about Videos

Do I need permission to use a Video?      

Using the flowchart below, determine if your use of a video(s) requires obtaining permission from the creator or purchasing a license.

Scenario #1: YouTube Video
Question: I would like to show a YouTube video to my class.  What is the process for doing this?
Answer: We do not recommend showing a whole YouTube video to your class unless it has a Creative Commons license (see Creative Common Licenses tab), or you have obtained permission from the copyright holder. However, if you only use a small portion of the video that is not the "heart of the work" and you provide attribution, then the doctrine of fair use would lean more in your favor.
Scenario #2: Video for Campus Event
Question:  I am holding a movie night event on campus, and I would like to show a movie for entertainment (not tied to the curriculum) purposes.  Am I allowed to do this?
Answer:  Yes, if you have the Public Performance License to do so. Licensing is needed when a motion picture is being shown outside of the classroom on campus. Consult the information on the Permission Request Information & Form tab in this Guide, or contact your programmatic librarian for more information.  Also, you must obtain approval from the Campus Director before purchasing a Public Performance license. 

Scenario #3: Showing a Video or DVD in Class

Question: I own a DVD that I want to show in my residential class that illustrates a key concept in the week's lesson.  Can I show the entire video in my class?  Is that considered "fair use?"

Answer:  If the video or DVD are being used for educational purposes, a portion of the work may be used in a residential class if the portion is not the "heart of the work," and attribution is given.  Consult the Fair Use Guidelines tab in this Guide for more information.  Showing the video or DVD in its entirety may require obtaining permission from the copyright holder particularly if you have determined that it is copyright protected.  For more information, consult the Permission Request Information & Form tab in this Guide for more information.


Scenario #4: Streaming a Video in an Online Class

Question: I found a great online video that I would like to stream in my online class.  Is this permissible?

Answer:  Video content can be found in multiple places including on the Internet (YouTube, TED Talks) and in some library databases.  There are several issues that must be taken into consideration to determine whether the video content can be streamed in an online class.  First, is the video covered by a Creative Commons license?  Also, do you plan to show a segment of the video or the video in its entirety?  If you plan to show a segment or a clip of the video make sure that it is for educational purposes, the portion shown is not the "heart of the work," and attribution is given.  Consult the Fair Use Guidelines tab in this Guide for more information. If you plan to show the entire video or the "heart of the work," permission should most likely be obtained from the copyright holder.  Consult the Permission Request Information & Form tab in this Guide for information. Finally, there are several video databases in the Rasmussen Online Library.  These videos can be made available to students through a link or, in some cases, can be embedded right into the course.  Attribution should always be provided.


Scenario #5: Deep Linking to Specific Web Content (Video) Found within a Larger Website 

Question:  I found a video on a website that I would like to utilize in a course, am I able to do this?
Answer:  In most cases, no, you should not be linking to a specific copyright protected video that you’ve found within a larger website in your course. Linking to a specific document/video or page within a larger website is called “deep linking” and is generally frowned upon because it can lead to confusion about who “owns” or is responsible for the information, and some websites actually prohibit deep linking. In addition, deep links have a greater chance of "breaking" than website homepages.
Process for Deep Linking:
  1. Review the website for a Conditions or Terms of Use page for information or a statement of approval of deep linking.
  2. If no such approval is present, and deep-linking is preferred, request permission from the site. If/when permission is received, store the permission in the Permissions Library.
  3. If the ID or SME prefers not to pursue the permissions process, they should link to the website’s homepage and provide instructions or the name of the specific page students should locate.

Exceptions - Resources that Allow for Deep Linking:

  • Resources found through the library’s databases (work with your programmatic Librarian)
  • Government websites and documents in the public domain
  • Resources under Creative Commons Licensing

Please contact with additional questions.

Note:  YouTube videos should be used with great care and caution.  In many cases, a third party who is not the copyright holder posts videos to YouTube.  Please contact your programmatic librarian if you need assistance in identifying the copyright holder of a video resource.

 Open Access Resources 

Some sites provide content (images, videos, music, etc.) that are freely available for use. This type of material is often called “open access”. Please note that though the resources may be readily available, they often have requirements for attribution and use - check carefully! In addition, when using all of these sites, please review their Terms of Use. 
YouTube Users:
YouTube has a Creative Commons filter that can be applied to any search.  Follow these steps:

Step 1:  Go to YouTube and perform a search.

Step 2:  Click on the Filter icon on the results page:

Step 3:  Select Creative Commons from the menu:

Step 4: Review results.

Open Source Video Websites:

Purchasing a License for Video Performance Rights

Film/Video – Public Performance Licenses
A public performance license is required to show a film in a public setting, with a limited exception for certain teaching activities.  “Public setting” is defined as anything other than within a private residence. Films purchased from a retailer, rented from a video store, or borrowed from a library do not include a public performance license.   Obtaining a license is easy and relatively affordable and can be done by contacting one of the organizations below that manage licensing requests on behalf of the major motion picture studios.
NOTE: Faculty are advised to work with their academic dean to gain necessary approvals prior to purchasing a license.
Permission Request Form
You've determined that you need to obtain permission to use material.  This form should be completed by faculty, SMEs, instructional designers, curriculum developers, or anyone working on behalf of Rasmussen University who wishes to incorporate copyright-protected information into a Rasmussen University course.
Please follow the steps below to obtain and document permissions granted:
1. Complete the Copyright Permission Request Form provided at the bottom of the page
2. Save the Permission Request Form to your H: Drive or a personal folder
3. Send the completed Copyright Permission Request form to the designated copyright holder
4. Document any permission you obtain from your source (including email) and file with a copy of the completed Permission Request Form in the "Permissions Documentation" Library housed in SharePoint.


Upload permissions granted/received to the Permissions Documentation Library using the following naming convention:

Course number_Course Name_Date (mm/dd/yyyy)
Example:  J100_IntrotoCriminalJustice_10152015
Note:  In situations where a form is not required, please provide the relevant information specified by your source via the method they specify, such as an online request form.  In those cases, please provide a copy of the submitted information as well as any permission you receive. 
For additional information or questions, please submit a request to:
Permission Request Form
Click the link below to access the Permission Request form.