Planning to host a screening on campus but not sure where to start? Here are some resources.

Avoid Piracy

FBI warnings on commercially available DVDs

  • Hosting a public film screening without PPR is considered piracy.
  • Piracy is not limited to the "man in the hoodie" recording with a cellphone. 

man in gray hooded sweatshirt illegally records film at movie theater with his cellphone

What are Public Performance Rights?

If hosting a PUBLIC SCREENING (i.e. outside of your regularly scheduled class meeting time), you must arrange "public performance rights" (PPR) with the film's distributor. Depending on the film -- how recent it is, the type of film (documentary or feature), the arrangement the filmmaker made with the distributor -- this fee may vary between $250-500 per screening. Even if your event is free to public, as the sponsoring organization, you are responsible arranging the PPR. 

  • My group wants to show [film title] next semester. How do I know who the distributor is? How do I know who to ask about PPR? This information might be in a number of different places, but consistently it is on IMDb Pro. You can also try a Google search with the film's title and "distribution". If you have an "educational" film, the distributor and the vendor might be the same company.
  • What happens if we don't pay it? If the distributor discovers that you have hosted a screening without arranging PPR, they can serve you with a cease and desist order and/or an invoice for the PPR that can lead to expensive litigation if not resolved. 
  • Can this fee be discounted or reduced? You can always ask the distributor for a lower fee, especially if you are student group or non-profit, but most distributors are not interested in a sliding scale. 
  • Will UM Libraries do this for us? No, we will not contact the distributor on your behalf. But we can help you determine where to call. 

CONSIDER INSTEAD: hosting a film with PPR on a platform already supported by UM Libraries

  • Advantage: the PPR is included within the film's licensing fee, paid by UM Libraries, which is 1) often cheaper than the film's PPR through a distributor and 2) is then available to the UM community for longer than one screening. 

ASK YOUR LIBRARIAN for more details.

Public Performance Rights for platforms currently supported by the Library:

Academic Video Online @ Alexander Street Press - All films purchased from Alexander Street, whether streaming or DVD, include limited public performance rights, which includes permission for classroom showings, as well as public screenings, as long as no admission is charged.

Academic Video Online @ ProQuest – Customer must secure permission from ProQuest’s Licensor and/or the copyright holder for any public performance other than reasonable classroom and educational uses. (2018)

Digital Theatre+ -- Educational Use Only permitted

Films on Demand/InfoBaseInfoBase is licensed solely to Licensee and Authorized Users for classroom teaching, research, presentations, and educational non-commercial multimedia projects for use in educational institutions, provided no admission or other fees are charged for public viewing. Authorized individuals can view titles from anywhere.

Kanopy All Kanopy titles can be used as assignments and for in-classroom screenings. For titles with full PPR rights, you have the additional capability to host broader on-campus screenings for the general public, so long as the event is free of charge. The best way to know if a title has full PPR rights is to use the filter available in Kanopy’s search interface (last filter option on the left-hand menu within search results). (See: ) Authorized individuals can view titles from anywhere.

Swank – This platform requires payment for events beyond personal or classroom use. Amount of payment depends on anticipated attendance, and must be negotiated with Swank prior to the event. Authorized individuals can view titles from anywhere.