Answered By: Rebecca Oling
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018     Views: 78

Copyright law requires that you obtain permission from the copyright owner for all public performances of films. The law includes a "fair use" exemption for certain face-to-face teaching circumstances, such as screening a film in-class for educational purposes.

However, for campus events outside of classes (such as student clubs or large public gatherings), copyright law typically does not allow showing a film without obtaining permission from the rights holder.

If the film is a "feature film," you may contact Swank Motion Pictures: to pay for public performance licensing and obtain permission. For other types of films, or for any films not handled by Swank, you must contact the rights holder. 

The Library has public performance rights for some documentaries and educational films that we own. To find out about the licensing for a film we own, contact the Reference Desk at (914) 251-6410 or

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