According to the copyright laws set forth in Title 17 of the U.S. Code:
“Publication” is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.
To perform or display a work “publicly” means—
(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.
Showing a film to your friends or family in your home legal and showing a film in a face-to-face class is covered under Fair Use. However, showing a film to a group or organization outside the structure of a class may require public performance rights.
Public Performance Rights (PPR) ultimately rest with the copyright holder - often the film's production company. Many Hollywood production companies use Swank Motion Pictures, Inc or other distribution companies to manage PPR. Additionally, PPR is included in many, but not all, of the subscriptions the University of Iowa Libraries buys through streaming video vendors.
Situations that require Public Performance Rights include:
Note that showings cannot charge admission for attenance.
The streaming video service Netflix will occasionally make notable documentaries available free of charge, as "one-time educational screenings." To see a list of these titles you can search the Netflix site or use the provided link. Please read carefully the conditions for screening one of these titles.