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Copyright Guide: Films/Showing Movies

2020 Copyright Guide

Showing Movies in a Classroom


Any legal copy of a movie (rented or purchased) can be shown during face-to-face instruction by a faculty member. The movies can be shown during the class or outside the normal class period, however, the showing must be only for students who are registered in the class. The movies must be shown in places that are designated for instruction - not residence halls, lounges or student centers. 

Film Sources from Rohrbach Library

Streaming Collection 

This resource highlights the library's streaming services, where you can access over 100,000 videos online. 

On-Campus Public Film Showing

Anytime there is a publicly shown film on campus, the group must purchase public performing rights for that movie. These rights currently cost anywhere between $300 and $500 per showing for popular titles from major film distributions. Public performance rights for independent films potentially cost less, however, you must purchase the rights even if there is no admission charge or educational conversation before or after the showing. The audience size may determine or influence the cost of the public performing rights. 

Susan Czerny, our Copyright Librarian, has assisted several groups on campus with the public performing rights process. She is willing to help you obtain these rights and can be reached by E-mail: or by telephone: 610-683-4174. 

Try your best to plan ahead! Be sure to do some research about purchasing public performing rights before/during asking for assistance. The library can often obtain rights for educational or documentary materials. 


The following are available vendors to find information on public performing rights pricing:

Criterion Pictures 


Motion Picture Licensing Corporation 


Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. 


Library Streaming Video Databases

The films in the resources below can be shown in your classroom, as well as assigned to students in the class to view outside of the classroom. 

Academic Video Online 

Ambrose Video 

Films on Demand 

Kanopy Streaming Service 

Swank Digital Campus