Can student clubs show movies the library owns at their club meetings?

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  • Two different clubs at my institution have asked to show our movies at their club meetings.  They don't charge a fee for attending and it's only for the club members and their faculty.  Can they show movies they get from other libraries?

  • As I understand it, if the movies being viewed have "public performance rights" then they can be shown in a non-classroom setting, but otherwise, the clubs need to pay a royalty in order to show these movies. You might want to take a look at this article that was published in American Libraries:

  • The vast majority of movies are protected by copyright, and one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is public performance. “Public” is defined as “outside of the normal circle of family and friends”. The showings at the clubs is public. The unfortunate conclusion is that they cannot legally show any movie without paying a licensing fee.

      There is a potential exception if any of your movies was purchased with a pre-paid performance fee. Often this is an extra cost, but sometimes not. Check the online catalog record, and the DVD box, or ask a librarian, for details.

      In some cases, a movie could be in the public domain. If so, it is no longer protected by copyright and can be shared with all potential club members and anyone else who joins the group. The current Wikipedia entry on films in the public domain lists some methods for identifying such films and provides a list of the more common ones:

  • Yes, I agree with Billie.  The exception for public performances (Section 110) is limited to face-to-face screenings in the classroom and distance education (with limitations) for non-profit educational purposes only.  One of the well established revenue streams that exist for the motion picture industry is licensing for public performances which makes sense - revenue from the sale of tickets to see a motion picture or a fee for a group to see a movie. (Of course, they have moved into direct sales as well).

    You might want to start with to find out about licensing a title. They are the biggest sub distributor for feature films.  For indie movies, you would contact their distribution company -- PBS, Women Make Movies, First Run films, those types. 

    Alternatively you could buy the titles with public performance rights but this is not always available and you would be paying a higher price. You would have a license to show the title at non-library events, but probably not for admission (for protfit purposes).




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