Film Screening Guidelines

This document is intended to help members of the Miami University community determine when they must obtain a public performance license for a campus film screening or when film screenings may fall under one of the educational exemptions included in U.S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code).

Copyright & Film Screenings Best Practices: Section A

A public performance license is required when:

  • The screening is being made purely for entertainment purposes, e.g. a “family night” screening of the movie Frozen, or the screening of the film Premium Rush in celebration of Bike Month.
  • The screening will be open to the entire campus, their family and friends, and/or members of the general public, even if the screening is being made for educational purposes.
  • The screening is part of a film festival that will be open to the entire campus, their family and friends, and/or members of the general public.
  • If your screening requires a public performance license, please contact Andrew Richard at richaraw@miamioh.edu or 513-785-1892 for assistance in obtaining the license. Please note that it will be the responsibility of the person/group/department hosting the event to pay any applicable licensing fees.

Copyright & Film Screenings Best Practices: Section B

Screenings arranged by Miami University academic departments and/or student clubs registered with the Miami University Office of Student Activities may not need public performance license if the screening falls within the parameters of the educational copyright exemptions found in §110(1) and §107 of U.S. copyright law.

For a campus film screening to qualify under these exemptions, it must:

  • Be sponsored by a student club that registered with the Miami University Regional Office of Student Activities & Orientation and/or a Miami University academic department.    
  • Be made for scholarly purposes in conjunction with the educational objectives of the student club and/or academic department, and include scholarly discussions or activities regarding the film as part of the screening.
  • Be limited to only those student and faculty members of the student group or affiliated with the academic department.
  • The copy of the film being performed must be lawfully obtained, which could include using a copy that was purchased by the University, the student group, the academic department, or one that is obtained through the library. Under no circumstances should a film that has not been lawfully obtained be used. If the group sponsoring a film screening needs assistance obtaining a lawfully acquired copy of a film, they should contact their subject librarian for assistance.

Campus Resources

If you need assistance in determining which category your screening of a film may fall into, please contact Carla Myers, Coordinator of Scholarly Communications for the Miami University Libraries, at myersc2@miamioh.edu or 513-529-3935.