Can We Show Movie Clip During Government Meeting?

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Hammer 5 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #181247

    Crystal Couillard

    Hello! I am in need of some expert advice from the GovLoop community as I am new to the government sector.

    Our mayor wants to show a clip from a movie during our State of the City meeting later this spring. Does anyone have any information on if we can legally do this?

    In a perfect world, we would just play the clip from the DVD or from YouTube (I did find the video clip in question on YouTube).

    The issue might be complicated by the fact that the State of the City meeting will be broadcast on our PEG channel as well as streamed on our website.

    Any advice on if we can show the movie clip or how to do about getting rights to do so would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much-

    Crystal Couillard
    City of Eagan, MN

  • #181263

    Mark Hammer

    Movie clips are a bit like using quotes in essays. In their own mind, people think of them as saying exactly what they want to say. But they neglect the attendant clumsiness of sequeing into and out of the clip/quote, neither of which were ever designed to merge smoothly with something other than what they first appeared in.

    Probably more trouble than it’s worth. And the last thing one needs is to stand there like an idiot while someone else struggles to figure out, under pressure, why you can get sound but no picture, picture but no sound, whether folks at the back can see/hear it, whether the wires are taped down well enough that nobody trips over them, etc.

  • #181261

    Crystal Couillard

    Thanks Mark!

  • #181259


    You have to get permission usually for government, non-profits and educational institution it’s little to no costs. You either go thru a third-party or they usually have a rights and permission department….One of my former duties in the private sector was to grant permission for pictures, video, articles etc..

  • #181257

    Crystal Couillard

    Perfect! I was concerned about the cost factor but figured there might be some sort of leeway for governmental use.

  • #181255


    Mark brings up a good point. Practice before you present to make sure the transition is seamless.

    I’m not a copyright expert, but isn’t showing a movie clip for educational purposes (e.g. in a meeting to illustrate & critique a point) acceptable under fair-use law? Of course, broadcasting a clip in a public forum may be a little trickier since that could be considered a public performance…

    Columbia University Libraries

    Fair Use Checklist

    Showing Films and Other Media

    Just for Fun

    A Fair(y) Use Tale (YouTube video using Disney clips to illustrate copyright principles)

  • #181253

    Crystal Couillard

    Thanks for the links Matthew. The information you provided is very helpful.

  • #181251

    Mark Hammer

    Some years back I taught a very large undergrad class that had 350 taking it in the lecture hall but 750 taking the course over cable television. Faculty were allowed to show films the school had (or even those I might have rented from a video outlet) in the classroom. But showing it to a class that was going to later be broadcast on cable constituted broadcast of the film. It’s quite possible permission could have been obtained, but not along the timelines provided by “Hmmm, we have a section on XX coming up next week. You know what would be a great bit of footage to show along with that?”. So, no movies.

  • #181249

    Mike Reardon

    In addition to requiring permission, you probably should consider if doing so would violate YouTube government/institutional channel designation. We were slapped on the wrist by YT copyright police for playing copyright music as part of a live mayoral address. As a result, when we recently covered the mayor’s inauguration we didn’t go live on YT as a choral group was singing copyright music. There were other reasons too, but this was a factor. We have not had a problem replaying it, but for whatever reason YT jumped on us during our live coverage. Just one more thing to consider.

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