Want to show a movie? Know the law!
A movie may be shown for free ONLY for educational purposes as stated in a class syllabus that is held in a classroom setting or a separate place devoted to instruction where the attendance is limited to the instructors, students and guest lecturers.
Unlawful “public performance” consists of having a “movie night” in a residence hall lounge or public place without obtaining rights to the movie. THIS IS ILLEGAL, even for an educational program! Public performances can only be used for “systematic instructional activities.” One such clause: “Companies, organizations and individuals who wish to publicly exhibit copyrighted motion pictures and audiovisual works must secure licenses to do so…Any willful infringement of this right ‘for purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain’ is a Federal crime.”
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 & $1000 and they send you the movie. If you do not obtain movie rights, you risk serious consequences with the law that may lead to jail or payment of up to $25,000. (Fliers promoting your program can be grounds for charges.)
Please note, this is a quick interpretation for you. Have more questions? Contact Student Leadership & Involvement at 332-2754 or Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. at 1-800-876-5577.