Watching Movies on Campus

Students often ask about renting or buying a video and showing it free of charge for entertainment purposes as part of a club or other extracurricular activity. Unfortunately, this is a violation of the Federal Copyright Act and could put the student and/or college in legal jeopardy. "Willful" infringement done for purposes of commercial or financial gain is a federal crime and is punishable as a felony, carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine. Even inadvertent infringers are subject to substantial civil damages, ranging from $500 to $20,000 for each illegal showing.

For more information, gives a quick and simple look at the law.  As you will see, classroom use is fine as long as it is a part of instruction and not shown as a reward or for a break from normal activities.

The legal option for non-classroom viewing is to license from a company that can grant public performance rights. Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. is a major supplier of most popular videos with those rights. As an example, to legally license and show the movie Psycho the cost would be $425 plus shipping. Their Web site is located at: Their sales representative for Oregon colleges can be reached at 800-876-5577