Film Screening Policy

A public performance license is legally required for screening films publicly on campus.

Reason(s) for the Policy

  • Violation of laws related to the screening of copyrighted videos are very specific and may lead to disciplinary action and other penalties if not followed closely. 


Commercial film and television shows are protected by copyright law and may not be shown in any public setting without a public performance license from the copyright owner.  A public setting is any venue on campus outside of a student’s room in the residence halls. 

Even if an event is restricted to a certain group of students, department or community, such as members of a particular student organization, a license must be obtained in order to show a film or television show at the event. These copyright restrictions apply whether or not a fee is charged for admission to the event.

Rights for public performance must be secured within 5 business days of the scheduled event. For student events, proof of license must be submitted by the student group representative to the groups. The group advisor must then notify University Event Management (UEM) that the screening rights have been secured. For faculty, staff or guest events,4 the proof of license must be submitted directly to UEM. Failure to provide proof of license within this time frame will result in the cancellation of the space reservation and the event.

Student organizations found in violation of the law and University policy described above will risk disciplinary action and could be subject to other penalties. 

How to Clear a Movie for an Event

There are two principal companies who license films on behalf of the film companies:

If the copyright owner grants your request, there is generally a fee of $300-$1000. If the copyright owner denies your request, you will not be able to show the film or program ar your event. 

If the film or show that you wish to license is not listed with Swank or Criterion, follow these steps to request a license:

Look at the movie packaging and find the copyright notice. It is usually written as ©Date. Locate the company name as it appears with the copyright notice. Locate the company's contact information on their website. Call or email the company with your license request. Provide the following information in your request:

  • Movie title
  • Movie format (digital, DVD, tape, etc)
  • Screening location
  • Screening date
  • Anticipated size of the audience
  • admission (free or charge)
  • Name of your organization
  • Your name and contact information
  • Advisor name and contact information