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Using AudioVisual Resources for Teaching : Using YouTube Videos

A Guide for Teaching Staff


Remember just because something is available on the internet does not mean it’s free to use, most content will be subject to copyright protection until it expires (70 years after the death of the author). Most websites contain a copyright statement or terms of use setting out if and how their content can be reused.  

If you want to use a YouTube video in your teaching you should consider

  • Whether the video has been uploaded by a legitimate source
  • How you will make the video available and if this is covered by the YouTube terms of Use
  • If what you are doing falls within a copyright exception 

Terms of Use

If you wish to use a YouTube video within your teaching the YouTube terms and conditions can be found here:
The terms state that you may show YouTube videos through the embeddable YouTube player and you are not allowed to reproduce or distribute any YouTube content except (a) as specifically permitted by the Service; (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rightsholders; or (c) as permitted by applicable law. 

Provided you are confident that the video is legitimate you can: 
  • show a YouTube video during a face to face class or a live class delivered via Zoom or similar platform 
  • embed YouTube videos within presentation slides accessible securely via Myplace for students to watch at a time of their choosing provided they play through the embeddable YouTube player
  • provide links to YouTube within Myplace for students to access themselves 

Legitimate or Not?

In determining whether a video is legitimate you should consider whether the video has been uploaded by the rightsholder or with the rightsholder's permission.

For example a clip from a BBC programme which appears on the official BBC studio YouTube channel would be legitimate. A BBC programme uploaded by YouTube user joebloggs1 is more likely to be infringing. We would not encourage showing potentially infringing content during a lesson or distributing links to such content to students which could be considered secondary infringement.


You may want to record a live Zoom class during which you play a YouTube clip or make a recording of yourself delivering a lecture or presentation (without an audience) which incorporates such clips in order to provide students access to such materials via Myplace.
There is a potential risk making such a recording may be considered a breach of the YouTube terms and conditions as you would be making a copy of the video and students viewing the recording would be watching a copy rather than accessing the video via the embeddable YouTube player. 
However, it is possible to justify including a YouTube video within a recording made available to students via Myplace under the illustration for instruction exception in UK law.  The exception is subject to fair dealing which requires an assessment of whether the use is fair. This means that only so much of a work should be used as is necessary for the purpose (in this case to make a teaching point), the work must be sufficiently acknowledged and the use must not negatively impact on the economic rights of the rightsholder. 
In most cases including a YouTube video within a recording of a class and making that available securely via Myplace to a cohort of students is unlikely to impact on the economic interests of the rightsholder or YouTube and would therefore be fair.  There is an argument the recording is merely facilitating a lecturer making available to students online content he/she would normally be able to show in a face to face real time teaching environment. 
The illustration for instruction exception includes a 'no contractual override clause' which allows you to ignore terms in a contract which prevent you from exercising your rights under an exception. This means that you can ignore the requirement to only show the video via the embeddable YouTube player when using the exception.  
Unlike using a licence, relying on an exception is not risk free.  However there is a strong argument the exception applies and the likelihood of a claim for infringement is low. If you are unsure please contact
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