I'm a drafting a presentation for an upcoming conference. To illustrate some points I'd like to include some clips from well-known scifi movies about VR. Would this be considered "fair use"?

Could said powerpoint file be made available for download (which would include the movie clips I guess) afterwards?

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    Apart from ethical issues, a practical issue to consider is whether the room will have a sound system, and whether the computer you use for your presentation will be set up to use it. Apr 8, 2015 at 12:39
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    The concept of fair use differs between different countries and you would need to take care of both your own local laws and the laws of the country in which the presentation is held. This can easily be a mess, and if I were you, I would try to avoid this. But in any case, at least for the download version of the slides, I would leave out the videos.
    – DCTLib
    Apr 8, 2015 at 12:54
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    ...and to prepare for the amusingly ubiquitous problem that the sound system will not work even when it is supposed to. Just saying something along the lines of "I'm sure many of you have seen X film, where blah happens – well, this isn't necessarily science fiction any more!"? might help keep the fluidity and continuity of the presentation. If the film clips do not serve an academic purpose, the interruption may not be warranted.
    – Moriarty
    Apr 8, 2015 at 13:21
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    @Moriarty: Which, of course, requires that the part of the audience you don't want to lose has already seen film X. Personally, I find it rather annoying when I'm expected to have watched something in the cinema or on DVD when I usually just wait for one or two years until it turns up on free tv. Apr 8, 2015 at 16:25
  • @O.R.Mapper Agreed. I rather enjoy it when a speaker slips in a sly reference where those who get it will chuckle quietly and those who don't are none the wiser, but one should not require the audience to have prior knowledge of a "pop culture" reference in order to follow the academic content of the presentation.
    – Moriarty
    Apr 8, 2015 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


Let's just preface this with 'I am not a Lawyer' (I am a Sociologist interested in copyright and piracy).

Fair-Use in the U.S. supports educators using small amounts of copyrighted material for educational purposes, and this includes to peers for conferences and workshops, so long as that material was legally obtained.

Copyright (in the majority of cases) gets invoked at the point of distribution so putting those clips into a .ppt and then sticking it online is not protected as you're now distributing copyrighted material without permission.

I would use the clips live, and then put placeholder images in the slides for the upload. If clips are available from reputable hosting sites like YouTube or Vimeo you can always include a link in the slide. Technically in the U.S. this can be framed as second order copyright infringement under 'inducement' (i.e. you are inducing, or encouraging someone to access copyrighted material illicitly by providing a route to it).

However with all copyright it's a matter of enforcement, and more likely if the material is unlawfully available on a streaming site, the rights-holder will pursue the site, not the linker.

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    On an unrelated note, your avatar gave me a whack of nostalgia. I always preferred Academician Prokhor Zakharov which is kind of funny considering what I ended up doing. Apr 17, 2015 at 14:19

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