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Films and performance rights: Public Performance Rights

Getting performance rights and/or streaming rights.

Getting in Touch

When inquiring about PPR, have the following information on hand:

  • Your name and the name of your campus organization
  • Where and to whom you will show the film
  • How your campus organization will pay for the rights to show the movie
  • Contact information for your campus organization
  • Whether or not you need a copy of the film

Email Library with questions

What Do I Need to Do?

Showing a Film?

Student groups showing films should contact the Student Leadership Center.

Using the Library's Copy?

The Collection Development Librarian will also need a written confirmation from the distributor of rights purchases.

Can't Get PPR?

If you have trouble finding PPR for a film, please contact us at the email address above.

Booking Films

If you want to show a film to a class in a classroom, you do not need to purchase performance rights. If you want to show a film out of the classroom environment, you will need to consider purchasing performance rights.  

You can book films from the Libraries' collection to be shown on a future date. This ensures that they will be available and not checked out on the day you plan on showing them. Make sure you book as early as possible and no later than 7 days before your expected showing!

To book a film, contact the media department in the library with the link below.

What are Public Performance Rights?

What are Public Performance Rights (PPR)?
Copyrighted films (and this is most of them) are not automatically licensed for public performance (this means showing a movie/film in a dorm, auditorium, or any other kind of public space).  The only legal exception to this rule is if an instructor shows the video/dvd in a classroom and that the activity is for teaching (aka: face-to-face teaching). 

Does the Ray W. Howard Library purchase films with Public Performance Rights?
Due to the extra cost and the fact that we are an academic institution, the Library usually does not purchase films with PPR.  Some publishers and distributors (e.g., Films for the Humanities, Film Movement) do include PPR in the purchase price so that these films may be shown anywhere/anytime, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Do I Need PPR?

Sometimes it can be confusing to understand when you need to purchase PPR. In general, any time a film is "display[ed] at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered," (Title 17, U.S. Code) you will need to secure PPR rights.

Our event is free, can't we just show the video?

No. Any time you are holding a public event where anyone can come, it is considered a public performance and you will need to purchase rights. Student clubs, student-run film festivals and similar events are all public performances.

Can't I just ask the director for permission? 

No, if the director has given rights to a distributor, it is likely that the director does not hold the PPR for the film. 

How Do I Get PPR?

Films With PPR

Some film distributors sell films with PPR. These tend to be educational documentaries that are part of the Libraries' collection. Films purchased from these companies include PPR. To see a list of these films available at the Ray W. Howard Library, use the links below.

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