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Netflix in the Classroom

Using Netflix in the Classroom

Can I Use Netflix in the Classroom?

The library does not subscribe to Netflix, nor does Netflix allow for institutional accounts.

Does this prevent you, as an instructor, from logging into your personal account to use Netflix in the classroom? Yes and no.

In order to show a film in a public setting, producers and distributors require institutions to purchase public performance rights (PPR). If you are familiar with US copyright law (17 U.S. Code § 110), you may know that the Federal Copyright Act does not require PPR for face-to-face classroom or teaching activities. This is why you are generally allowed to show films in class.

On the surface, it may seem as though Netflix would be a viable option for classroom use. However, Netflix works differently due to the terms of their user agreement. This agreement states that Netflix "and any content viewed through our service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household ... You agree not to use the service for public performances" (see Netflix's Terms of Use). Any third-party agreements, such as Netflix's, supersede US copyright law exemptions, such as those for classroom or teaching activities cited above. Therefore, we generally do not endorse use of Netflix in classrooms due to the potential for copyright violations.

Netflix is unique, however, in that they do allow educational screenings of a number of their Netflix Original documentaries - a collection of over 100 titles! See the instructions below for how to identify if a Netflix Original documentary is eligible for an educational screening.

Please note:

  • Different restrictions apply for using Netflix and other media in online instruction. Please contact us to clarify.
  • Other streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime do not currently provide exemptions for educational screenings of their proprietary materials. 

Searching for Netflix Original Documentaries with Educational Screening Rights

How to find Netflix documentaries that can be viewed in the classroom:

1. Navigate to:

2. Use the search box to locate the documentary you wish to screen

screenshot of Netflix Media Center

3. Click on your selected title, locate the film's Synopsis, and ensure that it contains the "GRANT OF PERMISSION FOR EDUCATIONAL SCREENING" notice. If it does not contain this notice, the title is NOT eligible for classroom screening. Please follow the instructions set out by Netflix when screening the title in class.

screenshot of netflix website