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Film and Television Research: Public Performance Rights

This guide is designed to help you get started doing film and television research using Library resources and services

Public Performance Rights Overview

What are Public Performance Rights?

Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal rights to publicly show a film or video (media). Normally the media producer or distributor manages these rights. The rights-holder (or their designate) can assign PPR to others through a Public Performance License. It is considered a public performance if any of the following are true:

  • The screening is open to the public
  • The screening is in a public space (dorm lounge, library, auditorium, etc.)
  • Access is not restricted 
  • Persons attending are outside normal constituency (visitors to campus)

Showing media, whether borrowed from the library or rented, purchased, or streamed, to groups outside of the classroom may be illegal, and may place the University at legal risk.

 

When are Public Performance Rights Required? 

PPR are required if you are screening copyrighted media to audiences for purposes that fall outside regular curriculum-based instruction. These include:

  • Student organization events (e.g. movie night)
  • Meetings, programs, or other events on campus
  • Film series/festivals

PPR are not required for:

 

Bentley Library Resources and PPR

DVDs

Since Bentley University Library acquires media to support the curriculum, and face-to-face teaching is exempt from PPR, the library does not typically secure PPR with video purchases due to higher associated costs. Some of the films in the library’s DVD collection have PPR; most do not. The DVDs with PPR are generally either documentaries or educational films. The library’s feature films do not have PPR. For DVDs purchased since September 2014, there will be a note in the catalog record indicating that it was purchased with PPR. For DVDs acquired prior to that date, please contact Matt Van Sleet to determine if a DVD has PPR. In the case where a film does not have public performance rights, it is the responsibility of the user, not the library, to investigate the procurement of PPR. The library will provide reasonable assistance in identifying the rights-holder of a film. 

Streaming Media

All films featured in two of the library's streaming media databases contain PPR:

  • Kanopy - "Viewing films in a group forum is permitted as long as the viewing is by authorized viewers and is not for commercial benefit (i.e. no admission costs are charged and no profit is made from the screening)".
  • Films on Demand - "The videos in your subscription include public performance rights and can be shown in class, in the library, or remotely to students, faculty, patrons, and community members".

Swank Digital Campus, our feature film streaming database, DOES NOT include PPR. If you wish to screen a film from the Swank database, you will need to procure PPR prior to viewing.

 

Obtaining Public Performance Rights

If you want to show a copyrighted film in a public setting, you will need to contact one of these licensing service companies to obtain permission.

Criterion Pictures USA, Inc. 
8238-40 Lehigh
Morton Grove, IL 60053-2615
1-800-890-9494 or 1-847-470-8164
Fax: 1-847-470-8194
Email: greatmovies@media2.criterionpic.com 

Kino International Corp. 
333 W. 39th Street, Ste. 503
New York, N.Y. 10018
1-800-562-3330 or 1-212-629-6880
Fax: 1-212-714-0871
Email: contact@kino.com or filmrentals@kino.com 

Milestone Film & Video 
P.O. Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640-0128
1-800-603-1104 or 1-201-767-3117
Fax: 1-201-767-3035
Email: info@milestonefilms.com 

Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) 
5455 Centinela Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90066-6970
1-800-462-8855 or 1-310-822-8855
Fax 1-310-822-4440
Email: info@mplc.com 

Movie Licensing USA 
(A division of Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.)
10795 Watson Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63127-1012
K12 Schools: 1-877-321-1300
Libraries: 1-888-267-2658
Other organizations call Swank: 1-800-876-5577
Email: mail@movlic.com

New Yorker Films 
16 West 61st Street
New York, NY 10023
1-877-247-6200 or 1-212-247-6110
Fax: 1-212-307-7855
Email: info@newyorkerfilms.com 

Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. 
(800) 876-5577