Public Performance Rights


Classroom Use of Movies and Video


The classroom performance of movies and videos is legal under the face-to-face exception to the public performance right of the Copyright Code, provided:

  • The teaching activities are conducted by a non-profit education institution
  • The performance is connected with face-to-face teaching activities
  • The performance occurs in a classroom or place devoted to instructional activities
  • The person responsible for the performance has no reason to believe that the video was unlawfully made or recorded

Under these conditions a video may legally be performed even if it is labeled “For Home Use Only.” Westminster College recommends that such screenings also be included in the class syllabus. (Adapted from the American Library Association Factsheet 7: Video and Copyright, available at: http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet07)


When are Public Performance Rights (PPR) Required for movies and video?


PPR are required for all screenings of copyrighted media to audiences outside of regular curriculum. Student club events, extracurricular sponsored events such as general lectures, Campus Programming Committee film screenings and other film series each need to secure PPR for such screenings. Specific examples of when PPR are necessary include:

  • If the screening is open to the public, such as showing a foreign-language film to the community for cultural enrichment.
  • If the screening is in a public space where access is not restricted, such as an instructor showing a film to a class for curriculum-related purposes in a public or unrestricted-access location.
  • If persons attending are outside the normal circle of family and acquaintances, such as showing a film to a club or organization, or showing a film for class but inviting others to attend.


Why should you learn about Public Performance Rights?


Showing media, whether borrowed from the College’s media library or rented / purchased, to groups outside of the classroom may be illegal, and may place the College at risk.


Does the Westminster College purchase media with Public Performance Rights?


Since the College acquires media to support the curriculum, and face-to-face teaching is exempt from PPR, the College does not typically secure PPR with media purchases unless directed otherwise. However, many distributors of our educational titles include PPR in the purchase price, allowing them to be shown anywhere to anyone.


How can you tell if media from the Westminster College Media Library does not have Public Performance Rights?


Titles in the Westminster College Media Library that do not have PPR are marked with a fluorescent orange dot on the case, and include a note in the "Summary" field of the catalog record that the title can only be used in compliance with the Face to Face guidelines of Copyright Law.

Audio Visual staff can assist in identifying titles in the media library collection that have PPR.

Further information on Copyright and your responsibilities can be found here.