This guide is here to help you through the process of showing a film on campus. Films are protected by copyright, so showing them publicly requires permission from the film's copyright holder. This permission almost always costs money. When you buy permission to show a film, you are buying a public performance license - it's an agreement between you and the copyright holder that says you are allowed to show their film publicly on a certain date for a certain amount of money.
It usually costs between $200 - $450 to purchase a public performance license. The price will vary depending on the film's publisher, how new or popular the film is, and how many people are expected to attend the screening. Some companies also offer to lend a screening copy of the film for an additional $20 - $40 charge. These costs are paid for by the campus group or office that is hosting the screening.
Short answer - yes. Professors do not need permission to show a film to their students during class, but any other event where a film is being shown requires a public performance license. However, the library owns films that are already cleared for public performance. See the box below for details.
Most of the time, but not always. If a film company files for bankruptcy, it might not be clear who owns which rights, so purchasing a public performance license might not be possible. Or, sometimes publishers won't grant a public performance license for a certain film if they expect a spike in demand for it. For instance, if a highly-anticipated sequel is being released, the publisher might not grant a public performance license for the original in the hope that more people will rent or purchase the film.
For most films, no. Commercial streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon don't usually deal in public performance licenses. However, Netflix does make exceptions for certain original documentaries that they produce. See their Educational Screenings of Documentaries page for details.
Musselman Library subscribes to several streaming services. You can find all of them on the Films Online guide. Each streaming service handles public performance rights differently. If you're interested in screening a film from one of these services, please contact the library's Copyright Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee will be glad to help you determine whether a streaming film is cleared for a campus screening.
Musselman Library owns hundreds of films that are already cleared for public performance. We paid for campus screening rights when we bought these films, so they don't require you to pay for a license or get permission to show them publicly. To search for these films:
This search will return over 2,000 results. If you want to narrow down the results, try adding some keywords to your advanced search. For example, searching "cleared for campus public performance" AND "ocean" returns about 20 results.
You don't have to commit to purchasing a public performance license right away. It's perfectly fine to ask for a price quote and then consult with your group. Follow these steps to get a quote or purchase a public performance license:
You can contact Musselman Library's Copyright Committee at email@example.com.
The committee will offer a recommendation based on your situation, but the committee does not provide legal advice or serve as a substitute for consultation with competent legal counsel on matters regarding compliance with copyright law.