Copyright Policy - Showing movies on campus

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Copyright Compliance

Any use of copyrighted material without permission is copyright infringement. This applies to purchasing video content or whether it is obtaining the material through streaming options.  Copyright violations can impose penalties on the university, and are taken very seriously.


Public Performance

A public performance is a movie that is shown outside of someone’s home. Many public performances do not qualify for an educational exemption and do not apply outside the nonprofit, in-person, classroom teaching environment.   Streaming or showing a purchased video is licensed for your private use and is not licensed for exhibition to the public.  For instructional purposes, please visit Lehigh Media Services for more information.

Public Performance Rights

A license is required for all public performances.  Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal right to show a film or stream a video and are required if you are screening the copyrighted media to audiences for purposes that fall outside regular classroom student-rostered teaching instruction. The showing of a movie  will be considered to be a Public Performance: 

  • If the viewing or screening is open  to the public

  • If the viewing or screening is in a public space (auditorium, lounge, meeting room, etc.)

  • If the viewing or screening is advertised 

  • Whether or not admission is charged

Fees collected for public performance licensing compensate the copyright owners and the people who work on a film from start to finish. 

Purchasing a Public Performance Right

Purchasing a license to show a movie will be valid for a specific, designated time frame regardless of the number of people attending.  If you do need a "public performance" license, you can obtain one in one of the following ways:

  • By renting the movie directly from a distributor that is authorized to grant such licensing service companies to obtain permission.  

  • By contacting the copyright holder (generally the studio) directly.