Use of Copyrighted Material

Public Performances

Neither the rental nor the purchase of a videocassette/DVD carries with it the right to show the tape outside the home. Unauthorized public performances refer to situations where an institution or commercial establishment shows a tape or film to its members or customers without receiving permission from the copyrighted owner. This includes public performances where an admission fee is charged, as well as those that are simply offered as an additional service of the establishment.

The Federal Copyright Act

Title 17 of United States Code
Taverns, restaurants, private clubs, prisons, lodges, factories, summer camps, public libraries, day-care facilities, parks and recreations departments, churches and non-classroom use at schools and universities are all examples of situations where a public performance license must be obtained.
This legal requirement applies regardless of whether an admission fee is charged, whether the institution or organization is commercial or nonprofit, or whether a federal or state agency is involved.
A&M-Commerce at Rockwall will require written documentation that a group has a license to use a film/video before allowing such an event to occur. In order to show a film as a public performance a student group must purchase a Public Performance License for each instance they would like to show a film/video. This can be done by contacting one of the following agencies that handle public performance licenses for many different film companies. If a license is not available through these agencies, your group will need to contact the film/video creator to obtain license purchasing information.

Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. 800-876-5577

Criterion Pictures USA 800-890-9494

Motion Pictures Licensing Corp. 800-338-3870


Penalties of Copyright Infringement: Willful infringement for commercial or financial gain is a federal crime punishable as a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a $100,000 fine. Inadvertent infringers are subject to substantial civil damages, ranging from $500 to $20,000 for each illegal showing.