Legal Information for Public Distribution

Some legal aspects of putting audio & video online can be complicated. We’re here to help.

There are TWO legal checks that we need to clear before posting your content online through Yale’s official channels.


Each person who appears in a video or speaks in a podcast needs to sign a Yale Office of General Counsel’s Speaker’s Permission Form. This includes Yale Faculty and Staff. We cannot distribute the content without this permission.

Once your speaker has signed the form, please keep one copy for your records and copy & send or fax the form to our office for our records.

You can download the Permissions Form here: PDF | DOCX

Please also post the following audience notice in the room where your lecture is taking place: PDF | DOC

Ownership of Content

If a video contains copyrighted imagery (photos, clip art, graphs, etc.) or other media (videos, music tracks, etc.) we must confirm with you that Yale has permission to disseminate this content. Permission must be granted by the content originator to allow Yale to distribute the content on any and all dissemination platforms.

Alternatively, your use of certain content may be considered Fair Use depending on the amount of content used and for what purpose (education). Read and download the Office of General Counsel's Fair Use Analysis Tool, which will assist you in determining if the content you wish to use can be considered Fair Use. 

Please keep all documentation associated with your use of third-party copyright materials.

Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Please feel free to contact us with any question you may have about legal clearances for Yale videos that may not be addressed below. We will be adding more questions all the time to this list!

Who makes these legal rules for internet distribution?

Our office works with the Yale University Office of General Counsel to make sure that we can legally distribute our educational audio and video content created by Yale and be sure that our content is, in turn, protected.

Can I make alterations to the Permissions form?

Generally, no. We have yet to come across a singular issue that is broad enough to warrant an amendment to the Permissions Form. For example, the Form was re-worded when we began to distribute video content through YouTube. The form now includes “all media” do indicate audio, video or any future media types that may be developed. 

My speaker hasn’t signed a permission form yet, but I anticipate they will sign it; can we post the media before we get the form back?

A permissions form must be signed before we post your content online. If a video or podcast goes online without the signed permission, a speaker may decide not to give permission, and we will be required to pull the content down. However, that means the video was online for some amount of time, during which it may viewed, downloaded and shared. While you await the signed permission form, we can work on your video to edit and prep it for the web.

The form was e-mailed to me and I don’t have the original form. Is this okay?

Yes! Sometimes a speaker may just sign the form and scan it back into the computer and e-mail it back to you. Please just make sure that you have your copy in a safe place (external hard drive or printed out in a file) and be sure to forward it to us as well.

This happens a lot. Our best suggestion is to check out the Yale Office of General Counsel’s legal reference tool for Fair Use. This tool will help you determine if use of this content falls under “Fair Use”. More info on Fair Use can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office. If the content does not fit under parameters for Fair Use, we unfortunately cannot use it in a video or audio production.

My speaker has already signed a permission form that is not the Yale Speaker’s Permission Form. Is this acceptable?

Please include this form in the Media Tracking Tool when you submit your information for distribution and make a note in the Comments section that it is a different form. We will check with the Yale Office of General Counsel to see if we can accept it. Chances are likely that we cannot accept the form simply because few forms that we’ve seen are as all-encompassing as the Yale Permissions Form. But we’ll double-check anyway!