BC ELN recently published an FAQ list on the legalities of using movies in classrooms and other campus settings. It covers common questions about Feature Film Public Performance Rights licenses.
- What are public performance rights?
Under the Canadian Copyright Act any viewing or exhibition of a film in a public place must have a Public Performance Rights license. In this context classrooms at universities and colleges are considered public places.
- Who supplies these PPR licenses?
The licenses are with the two leading Canadian PPR licensing agencies, Audio Cine Films (ACF) and Criterion Pictures. Each agency represents a number of studios, and their license is a "blanket license" covering all films produced by the studio. Between them the two agencies cover almost all of the major US and Canadian studios and production companies, and many independent producers and foreign films.
- What types of uses are covered at TWU?
This license is for educational purposes in educational venues, i.e. an instructor showing a film in the classroom. Specifically, any charging of an "entry fee" is prohibited.
- A student group on campus would like to do a "movie night" and show a film. Are they covered by this license?
No. The student group must purchase a separate entertainment license to do their movie night. See also TWU's Movie Copyright Policy
- Is studio _______ covered by these licenses?
- The license document for each agency includes an appendix listing the studios covered.
- Is film _______ covered by these licenses?
Each licensing company's website has a search engine which allows you to search for individual films by name.
- Does the film have to be in the library's collection?
No. The PPR license covers any showing of films in the classroom as long as the video is legally obtained. It can come from the library's collection, the instructor's personal collection, or a video rental store. Copies that have been dubbed from broadcast or cable, or transferred from another copy, or illegally downloaded, are not covered.
- What formats does the license cover? E.g. VHS video, DVD, film …
The license covers video, DVD, and laserdisc. Film (16 and 35 mm) is not covered.
- How will the proposed changes (Bill C-32) to the Copyright Act affect the need for PPR licensing?
Short answer: we're not sure. We're monitoring the progress of the bill; if and when it's enacted, we'll investigate the impact on these licenses.