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Streaming Video: On-Campus Events

Public Performance Rights

What are Public Performance Rights (PPR)?

  • PPR allows a film to be shown publicly, for instance showing a film as a campus event.
  • Almost all films are protected by copyright, and § 106(5) of the Copyright Act grants to copyright owners the exclusive right to perform the copyrighted work publicly.
  • The statutory definition of a public performance is one "at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered." (§ 101
  • The Copyright Act contains a specific exception that allows viewing films as part of classroom teaching, so PPR are not required if the "performance or display [is] in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction" as long as the copy being shown was lawfully made. (§ 110).


When do I need Public Performance Rights? When do I not need Public Performance Rights?
  • Meetings, programs, and events on campus
  • Film nights sponsored by student or other groups
  • Department-organized events
  • Individual viewing
  • Home/dorm viewing with family and friends
  • Classroom viewing by students enrolled in a course

Does the Library's DVD collection have public performance rights?

  • Not all of the films in the library collection have PPR; most do not. Those with PPR are typically documentaries or educational films. (See titles)
  • Kanopy "Kanopy videos can be watched by any and all authorized viewers (i.e. members of the Emmanuel Community), whether in a group or individual viewing context without obtaining a PPR license as long as there is no commercial benefit.
  • See Resources tab for further details.

How can I get public performance rights for a screening on campus?

  • Individuals and organizations are responsible for obtaining performance rights for all publicly screened media. See Resources tab for further details on companies that specialize in obtaining PPR such as Swank.
  • For some films, you may need to contact the producer or distributor directly.  Finding the rights holders and securing PPR for foreign films, independent films, and older films may be difficult or impossible. Contact Diane Zydlewski ( if you have questions.

"Public Performance Rights" by Georgetown University Library, used under CC BY-NC 4.0 / Library-specific information adapted for the Emmanuel College Library

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