Commercial providers of content such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Showtime, etc. license their content to individuals, but not to institutions, often making that content unavailable for institutions to license and make available.
When you subscribe to any of these services, you accept their end user license agreement. These services tend to use the same terms of agreement, which do not allow classroom or educational use.
The Netflix agreement below is an example of what subscribers agree to.
If you have a personal subscription to Netflix's streaming service, you accepted the Netflix End User License Agreement which does not permit classroom use. The agreement reads as follows:
"The Netflix service 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. During your Netflix membership, we grant you a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access the Netflix service and view Netflix content through the service. Except for the foregoing, no right, title or interest shall be transferred to you. You agree not to use the service for public performances."
However, there is one exception to the agreement. Netflix has some original educational documentaries available for one-time educational screenings. To find out which titles are available for educational screenings, go to the "Only On Netflix" section of media.netflix.com. From here, navigate to "All Alphabetical". Titles that are available for educational screening will display the following grant of permission on their details page:
GRANT OF PERMISSION FOR EDUCATIONAL SCREENINGS
Netflix is proud to present original documentaries that speak to our users in a meaningful way. We know that many of you are as excited about these films as we are; and because of their informational aspects, you’d like to show them in an educational setting -- e.g., in the classroom, at the next meeting of your community group, with your book club, etc.
Consequently, we will permit one-time educational screenings of permitted documentaries. We use the term "one-time screening" to mean that you can't hold screenings of the same documentary several times in one day or one week. However if, for example, you are an educator who wants to show a documentary once a semester over multiple semesters, that is permitted.
Educational screenings are permitted for any of the documentaries noted with this information, on the following terms:
The documentary may only be accessed via the Netflix service, by a Netflix account holder. We don’t sell DVDs, nor can we provide other ways for you to exhibit the film.
The screening must be non-profit and non-commercial. That means you can’t charge admission, or solicit donations, or accept advertising or commercial sponsorships in connection with the screening.
Please don’t use Netflix’s logos in any promotion for the screening, or do anything else that indicates that the screening is “official” or endorsed by Netflix.
We trust our users to respect these guidelines, which are intended to help you share and discuss our documentary content in your community.