Get permission to use video

This section gives information about getting permission to use video clips (this includes animation and clips taken from TV programmes). It also tells you where you can go to search for video clips. It’s important to remember that video clips can include other media that you may also need to get permission to use. For example, if a clip uses music for a soundtrack, and you use the same soundtrack, you’ll need to follow the advice given in the get permission to use music section of this site.

You also need permission to play films from MPLC and/or Filmbank and from PRS for Music to play any music contained within the films.  If you are playing music videos, you will need permission from PRS for Music and Video Performance Limited, which is administered by PPL.

Who to contact

Where to look for video clips you can use legally

For standard video clips, you can ask the footage and content finder team at Focal International, the trade association representing the audiovisual industry, to search over 140 libraries for specific content. You can also use the organisation’s directory of members to get access to member library’s content.

BBC Motion Gallery allows you to search for video clips by theme or keyword. Many of the clips are licence ready, so you can buy a licence there and then.

Getty Images also provides stock video footage, from archival film to contemporary HD stock video.

To find a music video

PPL Video Store allows you to search for music videos. You’ll need to be an authorised member to use the site, and you can apply for membership by emailing videostore@ppluk.com or by calling 020 7534 1444.

You may need to have a licence to play music videos in your premises or at your event. You will probably need a licence from both PRS for Music, which protects the interests of composers, writers and music publishers, and PPL, which protects the interests of record companies and performers.

Playing films and TV content in DVD & other digital formats in your workplace

You will need to have a licence to play films and television content in DVD & other digital formats in your premises or at your event. The Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) provides the licence to legalise this activity on behalf of Hollywood studios, Independent studios and TV producers

Using video clips in creative work

If you are using somebody else’s video clips in your creative work, you will need to get their permission to do so. You should contact the person or organisation who holds the copyright directly.

If you can't find who to get permission from you should use a video clip from a source you can use legally.

Using material that was broadcast on TV

If you are using broadcast material in education the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) issues individual and blanket licences that allow staff at educational establishments to record broadcast material for non-commercial educational purposes.

If you are using broadcast material in something you’re creating, you should get permission from the company that produced the programme. The company will be listed in the credits at the end of the programme. They should be able to advise you about licensing, including pointing you in the right direction if they used licensed footage in the programme that requires a separate licence.

If the production company can't help then contact FOCAL International for advice.

Letting staff or customers watch TV at your premises or event

You’ll need to have a standard TV licence if your staff or customers watch TV on your premises.

You’ll need one licence for every site you have, not one for every TV.

You will also need licences from PPL and PRS for Music to cover the music included in TV broadcasts.

f you can’t find out who holds copyright for a video

If you can't find out who the copyright holder is for a specific video, you should contact Focal International for assistance.

You should always try to get permission for videos protected by copyright. If after carrying out a “diligent search” you still can’t find out who the copyright holder is, the work you want to use may qualify as an orphan work, that is a work protected by copyright but whose copyright owner is unknown or cannot be found. You can find guidance on how orphan works can be used in the UK on CopyrightUser.org.

Find out more