Public Performance Rights

What are Public Performance Rights?

Public Performance Rights are the legal rights to publicly show a film or video (media). It is considered a public performance if any of the following are true:

  • The showing is open to the public
  • The showing is in a public space (campus auditorium, lecture hall, conference room, residence hall lounge, library, etc.)
  • Anyone can attend the showing (including visitors to campus)


When are Public Performance Rights Required?

Public Performance Rights are required if you are showing copyrighted films to audiences for purposes that fall outside regular curriculum-based instruction. These include:

  • Student organization events
  • Meetings, programs, or other events on campus
  • Part of a conference or festival

Public Performance Rights are not required for:

  • Showing films or videos in a class
  • Home viewing
  • Showing films that are in the public domain.  The Enoch Pratt Free Library has a good website for finding movies in the public domain.
  • ​See the copyright section of the United States Code for additional exemptions (Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107-110).


Public Performance Rights and Olson Library Resources

The library catalog will indicate “Public performance rights (PPR) for NMU included” for films and videos where the library has acquired such rights. 

  • We purchase public performance rights for some but not all of the DVDs we buy for the library.  
  • We purchase public performance rights for all of our streaming videos found in the Films on Demand collection.  Other streamed videos in the collection are on a title by title basis.

Public performance rights (PPR) for NMU included


Obtaining Public Performance Rights

Usually the producer or distributor of a film manages the licensing for public performance. NMU Campus Cinema has a contract with Swank Productions, the company that handles public performance rights for films shown on campus. Swank has a catalog of films they license and can negotiate for the rights of films not in their catalog at a reduced rate. Alternatively, the following companies provide licensing services for a wide range of films.

Criterion Pictures USA
1050 Oak Creek Dr.
Lombard, IL 60148
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC)
5455 Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066-6970
Kino Lorber
333 W. 39th Street, Ste. 503
New York, N.Y. 10018
New Yorker Films
16 West 61st Street
New York, NY 10023
Milestone Film & Video
P.O. Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640-0128
Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.
10795 Watson Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63127-1012




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