General Information about Public Performance Rights for Films

Playing a film without permission

Section 29.5(d) of the Copyright Act permits an educational institution or a person acting under its authority to perform in public an audiovisual work on the premises of the University for educational or training purposes before an audience consisting primarily of students, instructors, or any person who is directly responsible for setting curriculum. The audiovisual work must either not be an infringing copy or the person responsible for the performance must have no reasonable grounds to believe that it is an infringing copy.

When to purchase Public Performance Rights (PPRs)

If your use does not fit the description above, you will have to purchase PPRs. You will need public performance rights for any public screenings, including situations where you do not charge for admission.Most film PPRs are purchased through collective societies. A collective society is an organization that administers the rights of several copyright owners. It can grant permission to use their works and set the conditions for that use.

Two collective societies administer PPRs for most Hollywood movies in Canada: Audio-Cine Films and Criterion pictures. PPRs for public showings can be purchased directly from these organizations.

The first step that you need to take is to find out what organization has the PPRs in their collection. Luckily, both organizations allow you to search for movies by titles.

The second step is to purchase a license.

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