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Understanding Public Performance Rights
and The Cline Library Assembly Hall

Assembly Hall

Public showings of films may require securing public performance rights. Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal rights to show a film or video (media) in a public place. As the event coordinator, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with copyright law for your event/film screening as well as knowing what steps you should take. Typically the media producer or distributor controls these rights and can provide the appropriate permissions through a Public Performance License.

Some key questions to ask during the planning of your event/film screening:

  • Am I showing/screening a copyrighted media item to audiences outside of regular class times in a public space?
  • Is the screening open to the public where access is not restricted?
  • Are the individuals attending outside the normal circle of family and acquaintances, such as showing a film to a club or organization or even for a class, but inviting others to attend?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you would need to begin the process to secure public performance rights for your screening.


Public Performance Rights are not required for viewing a film at home and/or screening a film during face-to-face teaching.  See: Title 17 of the United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 110.

How Do I Obtain Performance Rights?

A select few videos and media titles in the Cline Library collection are purchased with public performance rights. You can find out which of our titles has rights by contacting Content, Access, and Delivery Services. Most of these titles are documentaries or education related and not popular films.

If the media  you wish to use for your event/screening does not already have performance rights, you must contact the copyright holder to obtain them. Individuals and organizations are responsible for obtaining performance rights for their event/screening.

Tips on Finding Copyright Holders:

Determine who the copyright holder is. You can search WorldCat for newer formats of film. The Copyright holder will likely be included in the description or notes. Search United States Copyright Office database of registered copyright holders.

Some companies to contact to secure (license) PPR:

Document your contacts and keep records of all related correspondence.

Still have questions? Ask Us!