Copyright for Movie Night: Film Screenings on Campus

Michaela D. Willi Hooper


I undertook this paper so that I, along with other librarians and educators, could better understand how to comply with copyright law, conserve university resources, and streamline services to students regarding the procurement of public performance rights (PPR) for films and other audiovisual resources. Student groups frequently screen films on campuses, and accepted legal interpretations of sections 101 and 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act indicate that a specific license should be sought for any public performance of a copyrighted audiovisual work. My review of PPR information on the public websites of the 38 members of the ORBIS-Cascade Alliance (an academic library consortium in the Northwest) points to the potential for greater collaboration with student affairs professionals and other campus departments to provide more accurate and complete information about PPR and library audiovisual resources (e.g., DVDs or streaming media) that have PPR attached. Campus-focused resources about PPR should include information about fair use, educational exemptions, public domain, open licenses, and library-licensed content that comes with PPR. The academic library community could undertake a project to enhance the accessibility of accurate and supportive PPR information to student groups by creating tools or best practices. This area is ripe for more current research.

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