Q: I'm a professor and I want to show a film outside of the classroom. I'd like to invite the university community and the public. What do I need to do?
A: You will need to acquire public performance rights in order to legally screen the film. Even though this is for educational purposes, taking the film out of the classroom setting and inviting guests other than your students qualifies your film as a "public performance". (Fair use covers film use in face-to-face classroom and some distance learning settings.)
Q: I'm a student and my club or organization wants to show a film. What do I need to do?
A: You will need to acquire public performance rights in order to legally screen the film.
Q: What are public performance rights?
A: PPR are license agreements made with a film's rightsholder granting an individual or a group the legal right to publicly screen a film. Usually a PPR license is purchased for a fee, and it usually only covers a one-time screening of the film.
What do we mean by publicly? Any group of persons screening a film to any audience. Exemptions include home-use, face-to-face classroom teaching, and in some cases distance learning classes.
Q: How much do public performance rights usually cost?
A: Typically between 200-300 dollars for a one-time showing, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Q: How do I acquire public performance rights?
A: Generally speaking, PPR can be purchased through a film's distributor. There are several large movie distributors and public performance rights licensing agencies that own the rights to hundreds of well-known films.
A couple major movie licensing companies to try out first:
If you need assistance locating the rights holder for a film, feel free to contact Curtis Ferree: firstname.lastname@example.org or x2185
Thinking about putting on a film screening? Check Kanopy for titles first. Our license agreement with Kanopy allows us to screen films to audiences on campus, whether as part of a class or not! That means: no additional PPR fees.
To legally show a video or DVD outside of the classroom (the class must be listed for the semester with the registrar) or Library (the video or DVD must be related to your course content unless the library owns the public performance rights), a Public Performance license must be purchased - regardless of whether an admission or other fee is charged. This includes movies to be shown:
This legal requirement applies equally to profit-making organizations and non-profit institutions (Senate Report No. 94-473, page 59; House Report No. 94-1476, page 62).
Showings of videos without a license, even innocent or inadvertent infringers, are subject to substantial civil damages ($750 to $30,000 for each illegal showing) and other penalties (Sections 502-505).