Home > Research Help > Film & Media Studies > Public Performance Rights--What you need to know
Showing movies (either rented, purchased, or borrowed from the library) to groups outside of Hopkins' classrooms may be illegal.
Showing a copyrighted movie (whether it is in VHS, 16mm, or DVD format) outside the classroom, without obtaining a Public Performance Rights
license, may be illegal.
If you have any questions about using films, VHS,
or DVDs from the Milton S. Eisenhower Library's AV collection in class or in public, feel free to contact
Don Juedes, Librarian for Film and Media Studies.
What are Public Performance Rights (PPR)?
Copyrighted films (and this is most of them) are not automatically licensed for public performance (this means showing a movie/film in a dorm, auditorium, or any other kind of public space). The only legal exception to this rule is if an instructor shows the video/dvd in a classroom and that the activity is for teaching (aka: face-to-face teaching). For more information, visit the sites listed below.
Do the JHU Libraries purchase films with Public Performance Rights?
Due to the extra cost and the fact that we are an academic institution, the Library usually does not purchase films with PPR. Some publishers and distributors (e.g., Films for the Humanities, Film Movement) do make PPR available free of charge so these films may be shown anywhere/anytime, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Many vendors of educational videos/DVDs sell institutional versions of titles that automatically come with public performance rights. All titles purchased from the following vendors are institutional versions that come with public performance rights:
Phone: (800) 526-4663
Bullfrog Films, Inc.
Phone: (800) 543-FROG
Phone: (877) 811-7495
- Cinema Guild
Phone: (800) 723-5522, (212) 685-6242
- Clearvue & SVE(a subsidiary of Discovery School)
Phone: (800) 253-2788 or 1-773-775-9433
- Direct Cinema Ltd.
Phone: (800) 525-0000, (310) 636-8200
- Discovery School (subsidiary of Discovery Education; owns Aims Multimedia / Clearvue & SVE)
Phone: (877) 900-8830
- Docurama (a subsidiary of New Video Group, Inc.)
Phone: (800) 314-8822
- Fanlight Productions
Phone: (800) 937-4113
- Films for the Humanities & Sciences
Phone: (800) 257-5126, (609) 275-1400
Phone: (415) 703-8650 x305
- John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Library Video Classic Project
Phone: (312) 726-8000
- Schlessinger Media
Phone: (800) 843-3620
- Weston Woods
Phone: (800) 243-5020
- Women Make Movies
Phone: (212) 925-0606
Other vendors not listed above may offer public performance licensing, but you will need to contact them in order to verify. The Media Resources Center of the University of California at Berkeley has compiled a helpful list with their Video Distributor Database.
American Library Association -- Copyright Advisory Network
Haverford College Audiovisual Services -- PPR of Videos
University of California Berkeley -- Frequently Asked Film and Video Copyright Questions
University of Texas, Austin -- Crash Course in Copyright
Williams College -- Copyright Law Video Recordings and Public Performance Rights for Library Materials
(So, if you want to show a copyrighted film in a public setting, you will need to contact one of these companies to obtain permission - HINT: start with Swank).
Criterion Pictures, USA (1-800-890-9494)
Kino International (1-800-562-3330)
The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
Movie Licensing USA
New Yorker Films (1-800-247-6200)
Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. (1-800-876-5577)
| A recently obtained license dated September 18, 2003, for a one-time showing of the|
films Ordinary People and A Beautiful Mind cost $331.00 per film for a total cost of $662.00.
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