Film and Video Copyright
The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be used. Any public showing of any format (VHS, DVD) requires the permission of the rights holder unless it meets the strict requirements of the “face to face teaching exemption.” The “home use” videos and DVDs obtained from Blockbuster, Netflix, retailers, and the Multimedia Center are not intended to be used for public performances. If you are planning a film program on campus you should arrange for public performance rights, even if you are not charging an admission fee.
Who to Contact
The expert on these matters is the UR Multimedia Center. MMC staff can be reached in the UR Multimedia Center on the ground floor of Rush Rhees Library, 275-3009, or via email at email@example.com. Please consult your group’s advisor to ensure compliance when planning a film program on campus.
In order to show a film on campus legally you must do one of the following:
- Arrange with UR Cinema Group to show the film as part of their series so that the copyrights and public performance licenses are acquired legally.
- Contact the Multimedia Center (MMC) and pay the appropriate fee to acquire the rights to show the film of your choice (generally, this fee ranges from $300-$500 depending on the film). The MMC may also be willing to purchase the film outright if the film has public performance rights; the MMC would then add this film to its library collection for others to use.
- Contact the Multimedia Center and request a list of “public domain” films which do not require a license.
- Create an Educational Film Program and screen the film in the Gleason Theater. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reservation and more information. You may only utilize this option when showing an educational film.
- Arrange with a professor to show a film as part of the curriculum of a specific course. However, only those registered members of that particular class will be allowed to view the film and you will not be able to advertise this to the general campus community.
- Contact the Dryden Theatre of George Eastman House or the Little Theatre to request a private showing of a film. There is a fee for this service.
The Gleason Theater, located in The Gleason Library in Rush Rhees, seats up to 30 and was established as a space where student groups can conduct film and visual-presentation based programs. Use of the theater is limited to the University of Rochester community only. Reservation requests for events that are open to the public will not be honored.
Reserving the Gleason Theater:
- Send your requests to GleasonTheater@library.rochester.edu
- Be specific! Tell us your name, the name of the hall or group if this is a screening for a student group, organization, or a hall program. Don’t forget the date and time (we need to know the start and end times for your event). You will be notified by email if your reservation is accepted.
- Reservations are limited to film and visual-presentation based programs with an educational component such as a presentation or discussion of the film being screened.
- To maximize the availability of the theater to the student community, reservations are limited to one reservation a month per organization or individual.
- No block reservations. Only individual booking requests will be honored. You may not reserve, for example, every Friday from 8-10.
- Make your reservation requests well in advance. Requests are processed in the order they are received. The reservation inbox is checked once a day on weekdays. It is not checked on weekends.
- The Gleason Theater is not a classroom. If you are an instructor who is showing a film in class, contact Classroom Technology Services to arrange the necessary equipment.
- In order to familiarize yourself with and verify satisfactory operation of the equipment it is recommended that you stop in and try it out prior to your event. The Gleason Theater is self-serve.