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Copyright and Fair Use

Showing a Movie on Campus (not in the classroom)

Anytime a group shows a movie, the group must purchase the public performance rights for that particular movie. Public performance  rights currently cost between $300-$800 per showing for popular titles from major movie distributors or for films you may have acquired on Amazon. Public performance rights for independent films could cost less. Public performance rights must be purchased even if you are not charging admission or are having an educational panel or discussion before or after the film. Size of the potential audience may influence the cost of the public performance rights.

See a listing of films for which the library already has public performance rights.

You can contact the following vendors to get pricing for performance rights:

Plan ahead. If  you are asking the library to order a film or thinking about acquiring it yourself, see about purchasing public performance rights at the same time.  This is generally cheaper, and the library can often obtain rights with a one-time fee for educational or documentary materials. Feature films are generally not available that way. 

Showing a Movie in the Classroom

film spooling out of a movie reel

Any legal copy of a movie (from the library, purchased or rental) can be shown in face-to-face classroom instruction by a faculty member. The movies can be shown during class time or outside the normal class period (at night for example). However, the showing must be only for those students who are registered for the class. The movie must be shown in spaces that are designated for instruction--not residence halls or the student center.

Other films you can use

See the tab on this page for "Media You Can Use/Film Sources."