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Find resources and recommendations on making legal and ethical use of copyrighted scholarly work.

License to show a film on campus

The Library has physical (mostly DVD) videos and streaming video collections that can be accessed by the Brown community. The rights to view and show these films on campus vary by collection and by individual film title.

Public performance rights (PPR) are the legal rights to publicly show a film or video (media). Normally the media producer or distributor manages these rights. The rights-holder (or their designate) can assign PPR to others through a Public Performance License.

Individuals and organizations are responsible for obtaining performance rights for publicly screened media.

Course Reserves

Video materials may be used for classroom use through Course Reserves. Use Course Reserves to request digital course reserves for articles, e-books, book excerpts, audio, and video. See instructions for activating Course reserves in Canvas.

When are public performance rights required?

PPR are not required for:

PPR are required for:

  • All screenings of copyrighted media to audiences outside of regular curriculum. See specific license information for specific vendors below. Examples:
    • Student club events
    • Extracurricular sponsored events such as general lectures
    • Film series
    • Online teaching environments

Viewing rights for streaming video collections

View a list of streaming video collections available through the Brown University Library

DVDs the library owns or purchases can be converted to streaming media and added to Panopto by Academic Technologies for inclusion in Canvas. These can only be streamed as part of a course and are removed during semester breaks, even if the film is taught every semester.

Kanopy and AVON titles can be watched by any and all authorized viewers, whether in a group or individual viewing context. Viewing films in a group forum is permitted as long as the viewing is not for commercial benefit. For Kanopy and AVON titles, authorized users are current Brown University students, faculty, and staff. The license does not cover alumni.

Swank Digital Campus titles can be watched by authorized viewers but because Swank carries big box office films, the library needs to emphasize TEACH Act compliance. In particular, Swank emphasizes:

  • The use must be part of mediated instructional activities.
  • The use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class.
  • The use must either be for ‘live’ or asynchronous class sessions.

The rights for individual titles are often listed in the catalog record for that film. If the catalog record does not mention public performance rights, it should be assumed that there are no public performance rights purchased for that film. The notation of these rights may show up as:

  • Public performance rights granted. All other rights reserved.
  • Public Performance Rights obtained. Classroom viewing permitted.
  • Educational public performance rights for life of disc.
  • Includes public performance rights.
  • Only classroom rights. No streaming rights. No public performance rights.

Media items from the library's collection may never be used in any setting in which admission is charged or for any commercial purposes.