Office of Student Activities

Movie Policy

If you are interested in showing a movie on campus for public consumption, please read the frequently asked questions below.  The University Union Board (UUB) has a contract through Swank and can assist you in securing a movie copyright to show it in public.  Please contact UUB at for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

   1. What are Public Performance Rights?

      Public Performance Rights are the legal rights held by
      distributors or producers over the showing of a  film  outside
      of one's home. The rights-holder can grant others the temporary
      right to show the  film  by selling them or granting them a
      Public Performance License.

   2. When do I need to obtain a Public Performance License?

      Any time a  film  is shown outside a person's personal home,
      the screening is considered "public". It does not matter if
      admission is charged or if the entity screening the  film  is a
      non-profit organization, school, or library. If the  film  is
      being shown outside the home, it is considered "public".

   3. What about the "Teaching Exemption"?

      The  Copyright  Act allows  films  to be screened in face-to-face
      teaching situations, defined by specific criteria. To be
      eligible for the teaching exemption, the screening is limited
      to students who are enrolled in a class in which the  film  is a
      part of systematic mediated instructional activities, the
      instructor is present, and the screening is an integral part
      of the classroom session. Playing  films  for the department,
      for honors students, or as a " film  series" or lecture series
      does not qualify for the teaching exemption, but requires a
      Public Performance License.

   4. I bought a tape or DVD from the distributor for my school or
      library. Does it include Public Performance Rights?

      Most tapes are sold without Public Performance Rights, but
      some tapes or DVDs are sold with limited Public Performance
      Rights. They may enable you to play the tape for its lifetime
      in public screenings on your campus. However, you may not
      copy the tape or lend the tape to other institutions or
      organizations, or charge admission for the screenings you hold
      with that tape. These rules may vary, so check carefully with
      the distributor when purchasing.

   5. How can I obtain a Public Performance License for my screening?

      Performance licenses can be obtained by ordering movies through
      a reputable  film  company.  The price the company charges will
      include the performance license.  One of the companies that we
      use frequently is SWANK Motion Pictures, Inc. but there are
      several other movie distribution companies that can be used.
      Below is a list of their phone numbers and websites:

      Swank Motion Pictures    800-876-5577

      Criterion Pictures  800-890-9494

      New Yorker  Films     212-645-4600

      If you are interested in ordering a movie, you can contact one
      of the companies directly by using the above contact information
      or if you need additional assistance, you can contact the Office
      of Student Activities at 298-3232.

   6. Isn't it cheaper to just rent a movie from a video store?

      Renting or purchasing a movie from a  film  company is more
      expensive than renting or buying a video at the video store.
      On average, the cost to rent or buy a movie from a movie
      company can be anywhere from $400-$700 depending on the movie,
      the number of showings, etc.  However, when you rent or buy a
      video from a video store, you are not buying the rights to show
      it in a public setting.