Movie Showing – Public Performance Rights

A film may ONLY be shown for free, that is, without a public performance license, if it is used in a face-to-face teaching situation in a classroom or other space devoted to teaching activities. Any other use requires a public performance license. 

Kanopy Streaming Service: Pelletier Library subscribes to the streaming service Kanopy where public performance rights have been purchased for some of the offerings. Check out the Kanopy offerings through the library. Common Kanopy questions are included here.

When are Public Performance Rights Required?

PPR are required for:

  • All screenings of copyrighted media to audiences outside of regular curriculum, regardless of whether admission is charged and the screening is held on campus. Examples:
    • Student club events
    • Extracurricular sponsored events such as general lectures
    • Film series – even if part of a regularly scheduled class, if the film series is opened to the public or the university community

PPR are not required for:

  • Home viewing
  • Works in the “public domain”
  • Screening media in the context of face-to-face teaching in the service of regular curricula
    • See: Title 17 of the United States Code
    • Film must be:
      • shown during class (or other time scheduled by the professor and listed in the syllabus)
      • restricted to registered students in that class
      • film serves an educational purpose
      • no admission is charged
      • viewing is not advertised in any way

Further Information:

To obtain further information on copyright laws and movie rights, call Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. at 1-800-876-3344 to talk to the Allegheny College representative. Most movie rights run between $300 & $1,000 and they send you the movie. Showing films, without public performance rights, whether borrowed from the library, rented, streamed, or purchased, may put you and the College at legal risk for civil and criminal liability with judgements up to $150,000.00. (Fliers promoting your program can be grounds for charges.)

In addition to Swank Motion Pictures, following are other companies to contact to secure (license) PPR:

Criterion Pictures
Kino Lorber
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
New Yorker Films
Sony Pictures Classics