XVI. Guidelines for Commercial Media Products

Commercial media products are defined as those media programs that are licensed for “home use,” including, but not limited to, programs purchased, rented, streamed, or downloaded.

  1. The selection and use of media products for instructional purposes (media not specified in BCPS course curricula) shall be approved in advance for use in the instructional program by the school principal.
  2. Media products used in school for any purpose shall comply with the evaluation criteria as set forth in the Superintendent's Rule 6002 - Evaluation and Selection of Instructional Materials.

Commercial media products may be used for "face-to-face" instruction when all of the following conditions are met: 

1. The performance or display of the copyrighted work must take place in a classroom setting in face-to-face teaching activities;
2. The performance or display of the work is by instructors or pupils in the course;
3. The media product is related to the course of study and integrated with the curriculum;
4. The media product is performed or displayed in a classroom or other designated teaching space;
5. The media product being shown must be a legitimate, lawfully made copy (e.g., purchased, rented, or borrowed from the library).


1. Commercial media products shall not be used for fund-raising purposes, or for non-instructional recreational/entertainment purposes (e.g. student rewards, family movie night, before- and after-school programs, recess, lunch room) without a public performance license.
2. Any commercial product that is media rated with any rating other than “G” by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) may not be shown under these guidelines unless all of the following conditions are met: 
a. The parent/guardian is advised in writing of the MPAA media rating and rating descriptors located on the commercial product, allowing parent/guardian to know what type of content the media contains;
b. The parent/guardian is provided with a brief description of how the media relates to the curriculum; and
c. The parent/guardian is given the opportunity to opt out of his/her child viewing the media product. 
3. A public performance license must be purchased for any movie shown at school for any purpose other than curriculum related, face-to-face instruction (e.g. PTA-sponsored event or extracurricular activity). Failure to purchase a public performance license places the school system at risk for copyright infringement liability. Several sources for purchasing a public performance license for the K12 school setting are linked in the Resources section below.

Public Performance Licenses for K12:

Movie Licensing USA: Movie licensing for K12 schools.
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC): Umbrella license for schools.

Performance of or Showing Films in the Classroom (ALA/ARL), 2009.

Resources from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA):
Why Copyright Matters and Protecting Creativity, 2011.
The Film Rating System, 2013. Explanation of rating system; look up detailed explanation of ratings for specific films.

index Designed by Della Curtis, Coordinator
Office of Library Information Services, April 2012