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DVD & Streaming Video and Audio Collection: FAQ on Screening Films on Campus

Information on the DVD collection in Lilly Library

Screening Films on Campus: FAQ

Why is this important?

You could be fined, imprisoned, or both. It's the law. Ignorance of Copyright Law of the United States is not grounds to mount a legal defense in the event of litigation. 

What is the most important thing to know? 

All public screenings on campus require prior written permission from the copyright holder or a paid license in the form of Public Performance Rights (PPR, see below). Here are common examples of public screenings:

  • A campus club or house wants to show a film at their next meeting or at/as a campus event. They advertise the screening (on social media, in the campus newspaper, via posters, etc.). 
  • A campus office, program, or department wants to show a film as a special event. They advertise the screening (on social media, in the campus newspaper, via posters, etc.). 

What is PPR?

PPR, or Public Performance Rights, is permission to screen a film publicly in a venue. This public screening may be advertised, but admission may not be charged. These rights may be obtained from the creator or seller of the film after it has been purchased, or may be included with the purchase of the film.

Where can I find a list of films that Earlham owns which include PPR?

You can find a list of titles in the Earlham collection that include PPR by clicking the Public Performance Rights tab of this page. As new titles are purchased, they are added to this list.

Is there a cost to obtain PPR?

Yes. For films that include PPR with purchase, the price of the film is usually much higher than that of a feature film. Obtaining PPR rights after purchase will include paying an additional fee.

Does the library pay for PPR automatically?

Some films are only available for purchase with PPR. In these cases the library pays for PPR in order to obtain the film. The library does NOT purchase PPR for recreational purposes.

Is PPR the same as Fair Use?

No. Fair Use protects those who want to screen all or part of a film for in-class, education use. It does NOT cover screening a film on campus for a public (advertised) audience, even if the screening is limited to members of the Earlham community.

How does one obtain PPR (or written permission from the copyright holder)?

The library can help find a vendor and obtain a PPR price quote. It can be incredibly difficult to obtain written permission from the copyright holder; the library cannot help with such matters.

If a film is available on YouTube, can it be screened on campus?

This is okay. However, be aware of issues relating to bandwidth on campus that may hinder the playback of films on YouTube.


Assistance Needed?

If you have questions about screening films on campus, copyright in relation to films, or PPR, please schedule a Research Consultation with Neal Baker.

Mary Bogue

Mary Bogue's picture
Mary Bogue
Lilly Library


Earlham College • 801 National Road West • Richmond, Indiana 47374-4095