Showing a film to a group may require Public Performance Rights (PPR). Most of our films do not have PPR; please contact Library Media if you plan to screen one of our films to your club or student organization. Copyright violations can impose penalties on the university, and are taken very seriously.


Information about Public Performance Rights

 The copyright owner of a motion picture or other audiovisual work has numerous rights, including the public performance of the work. A public performance of a work occurs if any of the following conditions are met:

  • the screening is open to the public
  • the screening is in a public space where access is not restricted
  • persons attending are outside the normal circle of a family and its acquaintances

Examples of public performances include:

  • showing a foreign-language film to the community for cultural enrichment
  • showing a film to your club or organization in Lecture Hall 3
  • instructor showing a film in the classroom for curriculum-related purposes, but in a public or unrestricted-access location

Examples of non-public performances include:

  • privately viewing a film in your room with friends
  • an instructor showing the film to officially registered students in a classroom, where content of film directly relates to the course

Educational use of motion pictures is covered by Section 110(1) the Copyright Law, Title 17, U.S. Code, which allows for "performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction." Distance education is covered in the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act.

Most of the videos and DVDs in Library Media do not include public performance rights. This list includes titles that should include public performance rights. Contact ref-groups@umbc.edu to request confirmation about an individual title or for more information.

If public performance rights are needed, one must contact the copyright owner or the owner’s authorized representative.

This information should be viewed as a resource and not considered legal advice. One may wish to consult an attorney for advice concerning specific copyright questions.


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