Film Screenings & Copyright Law

If you would like to screen a film on campus as part of a public campus program you must obtain a Public Performance License (which typically range between $300- $1,000 per film) for the individual film(s) from a licensing agent, which affords you the right to screen the film. This license is required even if the film is offered to the public for free and is educational in nature.

Copyright Law

Federal Copyright Law, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 10: To perform or display a work “publicly” means “to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.”

Films (DVDs, digital copies, or streaming services) that are available for purchase, rental, or library check-out are for private home viewing purposes only.

There are a few exceptions which may allow for a no-cost movie screening. You may screen a film publicly if:

  • The film is in the Public Domain

  • You have written permission from the film’s producer or other holder of the right to grant such permission.

  • The film is obtained from a company that provides a Public Performance License with the purchase of the film. The Kenyon Library has a small selection of films that come with this license, most of which are documentary in nature.

More information regarding film screenings can be found here. Suggested Vendors for Securing Public Performance License are Swank and Criterion.