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600.6 Movie Copyright

Date Adopted: 12/02/2010
Date Revised:
Date Last Reviewed: 01/16/2024 
References: Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 United States code, Public Law 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541)
Issuing Office: Administration and Finance
Approved By: Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance

  1. Policy

    The University of Montana Western complies with the Federal Copyright Act, which governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be utilized publicly.

  2. Purpose

    The purpose of this policy is to comply with the Federal Copyright Act.

  3. Procedures

    Excerpts taken from the following publication: “Film & Video Copyright Infringement, What Your College or University Should Know About the Public Performance of Movies,” issued by Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.

    Neither the rental nor the purchase or lending of a videocassette or DVD carries with it the right to exhibit such a movie publicly outside the home, unless the site where the video is used is properly licensed for copyright compliant exhibition.

    This legal copyright compliance applies to colleges and universities, regardless of whether admission is charged, whether the institution is commercial or non-profit, or whether a federal, state, or local agency is involved.

    The movie studios who own copyrights, and their agents, are the only parties who are authorized to license sites such as colleges or universities. No other group or person is authorized to exhibit or license exhibitions of copyrighted movies.

    Furthermore, copyrighted movies borrowed from other sources such as public libraries, colleges, personal collections, etc., cannot be used legally for showings in colleges or universities or in any other site which is not properly licensed.

    1. The following are examples of public screenings and are illegal, unless the film title being shown is a copy which was obtained with “Public Performance Rights”:
      1. in residence hall floor lounges
      2. in the cafeteria
      3. in common rooms open to residence hall populations
      4. in the campus library
    2. Face-to-Face Teaching Exemption
      1. Use of a copyrighted film in classroom teaching, other than educational broadcasting, is a public performance which is exempt from the licensing requirement if all of the following conditions are met:
        1. A public performance license is needed when using videotape programming in any public or private location where the audience extends beyond the scope of a single family and close friends.
        2. It is illegal to conduct a public showing without first obtaining the necessary license for the program. Without such license, the public showing becomes a copyright infringement and the violators can be prosecuted and held liable for fines, penalties, court costs, and legal fees upward of $50,000 per abuse. The copyright laws apply whether you charge admission or not.
        3. There are no distinctions between profit and non-profit groups. Ownership of an individual video tape does not give one the right to show it in a public place; it is for home use only.
        4. Not having the budget to pay for the license (and thus the royalties) is not an acceptable reason for renting from a local distributor and showing a video in a public area.
        5. Authors, producers, studios and lawful distributors are the copyright holders and are due rightful compensation for the public showings of their creations.
        6. Anyone connected with the illegal showing of a copyrighted film can be named in a copyright infringement suit. This includes student organizations, academic departments, organization advisors, and college officials as well as the individual who knowingly operated the equipment at the illegal showings.
    3. Events Requiring Food or Beverage Service
      1. Events requiring food or beverage service will be scheduled in those UMW facilities specially equipped to provide such services.
      2. A Movie Refreshment Form must be completed and submitted to Conference & Event Services 5 days in advance of the event.
      3. Organizations or individuals using the University facilities may not sell or serve food and beverages that are provided by commercial or domestic sources other than the University Dining Service without prior approval.
      4. Only if the needs or wants of the organization or individual cannot be reasonably provided by the University Dining Service resources will special consideration be given to such requests.
      5. Any such service must meet all applicable federal, state, and local codes that pertain to the service of food and beverage for public consumption.
      6. Vendor must submit proof of liability insurance.
  4. Authority

    Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 United States code, Public Law 94 – 553, 90 Stat. 2541)

  5. Responsibility

    Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, Dean of Students, Director of Conference & Event Services

Documentation form appropriate use of copyrighted material.