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Public Performance
Videos and Copyright - Public Performance Rights

Showing a film to a group may require obtaining public performance rights. It is up to you to determine what you need to do to comply with copyright law.

Do I Need to Obtain Performance Rights?


  • if the screening is open to the public, such as showing a foreign-language film to the community for cultural enrichment
  • if the screening is in a public space where access is not restricted, such as an instructor showing a film to a class for curriculum-related purposes in a public or unrestricted-access location
  • if persons attending are outside the normal circle of family and acquaintances, such as showing a film to a club or organization, or showing a film for class but inviting others to attend
  • if the screening is in the lobby of my professional office
  • if the screening is shown in a church, senior center, prison, hospital, community center, a club or other organization
  • if the film is shown in a restaurant


  • if privately viewing the film in your room with friends
  • if an instructor is showing the film to officially registered students in a classroom, where content of film directly relates to course*

DON'T WORRY All titles distributed by include LIMITED PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS!

Why is that important? Any DVD purchased in the market place is licensed for "Home Use Only" unless additional public performance rights have been specifically added to the purchase, such that the performance of such videos outside the confines of your home would constitute a copyright infringement and could be subject to substantial fines and criminal penalties.

The Copyright Law (Title 17, US. Code) is designed to protect the interests of "authors," including the creators of film and video. Copyright protection gives "authors" almost complete control over the duplication of their creative works, including DVDs. It also gives "authors" the right to regulate public performances (showings or screenings) of copyrighted DVD's. As such any performance without the addition of PUBLIC PERFORMANCE rights are a violation of US and International Copyright laws.

To perform or display a work "publicly" means-- (1) 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; or (2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.

If you are a:

  • Library, School or College/University
    • Schools and colleges, including Christian and parochial schools, have a special exemption in Sect. 110(1) of the US Copyright law that permits teachers and pupils to perform copyrighted works in face-to-face instruction, without a license. This permits teachers to use any videocassette in the classroom, if the following criteria are met:
      1. The performance must be made from a legitimate copy;
      2. The performance must take place in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction;
      3. Attendance at the performance is limited to the teacher and pupils in the course;
      4. The performance must be part of a "systematic course of instruction" and not for the entertainment, recreation or cultural value; and
      5. The performance must be part of the "teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution."
    • To comply with Sect. 110(1), all the above criteria must be met. The first criterion is easily met, so long as the videotape was not illegally duplicated. The second criterion can be met by holding the performance in a classroom, meeting room, library or other room where classes meet. The third criterion indicates the performances are to be seen only by the teacher and enrolled pupils. The presence of other viewers appears to invalidate the exemption. The fourth criterion requires the performances to be part of a "systematic course of instruction," which should not be a problem for Christian or parochial schools. The fifth criterion specified that the performance must be part of the teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution. The guidelines were written for public and nonprofit private schools, so Christian or parochial schools should have little difficulty meeting the requirements
    • Any use beyond the exemption stated above would require a "Public Performance" License.
    • Schools and Universities outside of the US should check their respective national laws regarding copyright exemptions for educators as many countries require separate public performance licenses be acquired to perform works in a classroom
  • Travel Agent
    • If you are interested in showing a film on destinations around the world to your potential clients, a public performance license would be required. has made it simple for travel agents to utilize the value of multi-media films by including Public Performance rights on all the films we distribute. If you are using a film, many companies will require that you have obtained a Public Performance license prior to allowing you to display your film in Hotels, aboard Cruise Ships, and other public forums.
  • Professional Organization (ie. Doctors' office, Hospital, Churches, Prison, Restaurants, Senior Centers, Cruise Ship, Community Centers, Boys/Girls Clubs, etc)
    • includes public performance rights for its videos when purchased through us or other distributor offering public performance rights. This will allow you to show our films in your lobby, restaurant, facility, etc as long as you do not charge your guest to view the film.

TRAVELVIDEOSTORE.COM INCLUDES LIMITED PUBLIC PERFORMANCE AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. (*When purchased directly through us or through one of our Library Distributors and only on titles that are distributed by DIGITAL AND OTHER RIGHTS ARE AVAILABLE FROM TRAVELVIDEOSTORE.COM

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