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Performance Rights for Copyrighted Videorecordings

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 can assign PPR to others through a Public Performance License.

When are Public Performance Rights Required?

PPR are required for:

  • All screenings of copyrighted media to audiences outside of regular curriculum, regardless of whether admission is charged and the screening is held on campus. Examples:
    • Student club events
    • Extracurricular sponsored events such as general lectures
    • Film series – even if part of a regularly scheduled class, if the film series is opened to the public or the university community

PPR are not required for:

  • Home viewing
  • Works in the "public domain"
  • Screening media in the context of face-to-face teaching in the service of regular curricula
    • See: Title 17 of the United States Code
    • Film must be:
      • shown during class (or other time scheduled by the professor and listed in the syllabus)
      • restricted to registered students in that class
      • film serves an educational purpose
      • no admission is charged
      • viewing is not advertised in any way

Why should you learn about Public Performance Rights?

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

Securing Public Performance Rights

Individuals and organizations are responsible for obtaining performance rights for all publicly screened media.
Some companies to contact to secure (license) PPR:

More information about PPR

To find out if a film in the UB Libraries has public performance rights, please contact the appropriate librarian:

  • Health Sciences and Silverman Multimedia Collections – Lori Widzinski, 829-5744,
  • Koren Center, Law Library – Terry McCormack, 645-2831
  • Music Library – 645-2924