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Film screenings on campus

Physical copies (such as DVDs) outside the classroom

U.S. copyright law allows for screenings of DVDs (and other physical media) for face-to-face teaching inside an established UA course classroom.

However, when you are screening a film on DVD in other settings on campus, the law is not so easy to interpret.

Is the purpose to engage viewers by screening interesting movies on particular topics, or to truly educate?

You'll need evidence to indicate that it's educational. For example, a shared syllabus, or a description of the educational program, with learning objectives and expectations of participants? 

Start by asking yourself these questions.

  1.  Is this screening part of the established educational programming (such as a symposium, a series, or a club) of a UA department or other group?
  2.  Is the screening paired with other activities (such as lectures, discussions, assignments, or activities) that are designed to meet educational outcomes developed by the sponsors?
  3.  Is there a dedicated UA faculty member or administrative lead responsible for oversight?   
  4.  Are all the participants UA students?
    There is some leeway in who the viewers are, but if it might include other community members, the instructor needs to verify that it would meet copyright law section 110(1).

All four answers should be "yes."

As a general rule, all four answers above should be "yes." If your screening doesn't meet these criteria, it may require additional performance rights or permission from the copyright holder.

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DVDs shown during a UA course

As a reminder, you won't need performance rights for screenings of physical media inside an established UA course classroom.

The face-to-face teaching exception allows classroom screenings if:

  1. The physical copy being used (such as DVD or VHS) is legal,  

  1. The screening takes place in a classroom (or other space typically used for instruction),  

  1. The film is screened under the direction of the instructor or students, and 

  1. It's part of the face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution.