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Scholarly Communications & Open Access

Public Performance Rights

What are Public Performance Rights?

Public Performance Rights (PPR) are the legal rights to publicly show a film or video. Normally the media producer or distributor manages these rights.

When are Public Performance Rights Required?

PPR are required for all screenings of copyrighted media to audiences outside of regular curriculum. Examples:

  • Student club events
  • Extracurricular sponsored events such as general lectures
  • Film series

PPR are not required for:

  • Home viewing
  • Screening media in the context of face-to-face teaching in the service of regular curricula

See: Title 17 of the United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 110 (pg. 24) 

Why should you learn about Public Performance Rights?

Showing media, whether borrowed from the library or rented/purchased, outside of the classroom may be illegal, and may place the University at risk.

Does the CSU-Pueblo Library purchase videos with Public Performance Rights?

Since the CSU-Pueblo Library purchases media to support the curriculum, and face-to-face teaching is exempt from PPR, not all of the library's DVDs and videos have PPR. 

However, all movies and documentaries available on Kanopy include public performance rights, meaning they can be shown on campus in non-commercial applications (i.e., no admission costs are charged and no profit is made from the screening). 

How can you tell if a video from the CSU-Pueblo library has Public Performance Rights?

At this time, information about public performance rights is not included in the library catalog. You will need to contact the library to ask about particular items.

More information about PPR

Based on: Public Performance Rights for Screening Media from ASU Libraries. 

Fair Use

There are no hard and fast rules for what constitutes fair use. There are four factors (purpose of the use, nature of the original, amount used, and potential effect of the use) that must be evaluated to determine whether a particular scenario meets the definition of fair use. However, as teaching and education is one of the major reasons the fair use exception exists, it is worth examining how fair use applies to instructors. 

What are the rules? 

It is essential to remember one thing: As the instructor, you are always expected to obtain permission from the copyright holder(s) as soon as it is feasible. Each of the scenarios discussed below are based on recommendations from the U.S. Copyright Office on what to do if time or circumstances delay that process. Copying by instructors must meet tests for brevity and spontaneity: 

  • Brevity refers to how much of the work you can copy.
  • Spontaneity refers to how many times you can copy and how much planning it would otherwise take to seek and obtain permission from the copyright holder. 

This rule is based on the notion that instructors frequently need to make copies very shortly before they have to use them in class, and therefore have little time to track down the copyright holder and obtain permission. The use of the copies should be for one course at one school, and include a notice of copyright acknowledging the author of the work. If you use the same material over a period of multiple semesters or years, that is not within the spirit of the fair use exception.

There are also recommendations for "special works," which the U.S. Copyright Office defines as "certain works in poetry, prose, or in 'poetic prose' which often combine language with illustrations and which are intended sometimes for children and at other times for a more general audience that fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety." 

Special works should never be copied in their entirety. An excerpt of no more than two pages or 10 percent, whichever is less, is the rule for special works. 

Are there any general guidelines for fair use? 

Keeping in mind the rules described above, and that the source of all materials must be cited to avoid plagiarism, there are some basic guidelines from the U.S. Copyright Office on what may constitute fair use. 

  • A chapter from a book (never the entire book. Nor can you share an entire book chapter by chapter). 
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper.
  • A short story, essay, or poem. One work is the norm, whether it's published individually or in an anthology.
  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
  • A poem that is <250 words total, on two pages or less, or <250 words from a longer poem.
  • An article, story or essay that is <2,500 words total, or excerpts up to 1,000 words or 10% of the total, whichever is less.

What should be avoided?

  • Making multiple copies of different works that could substitute for the purchase of books, publisher's reprints, or periodicals (i.e., unlicensed coursepacks)
  • Copying and using the same work from semester to semester.
  • Copying and using the same material for several different courses at the same or different institutions.
  • Copying more than nine separate times in a single semester.

When is permission required?

  • When you intend to use the materials for a commercial purpose (this includes creating and selling coursepacks)
  • When you want to use the materials repeatedly, or for different classes.
  • When you want to use a work in its entirety, especially if it is longer than 2,500 words.

How do I get permission? What can the library do? 

The CSU-Pueblo library can place copies of copyrighted articles, readings, and short audio or video clips on Reserve or eReserve for your class, and provide a password-protected link to post in Blackboard.

Based on: Copyright and Fair Use in the UMUC Online or Face-to-Face Classroom Guide from UMUC. 

In-Person vs. Distance/Online Learning

Classroom Use Exemption (included in Section 110(1) of Copyright Law): this only applies to in-person, face to face instruction in a classroom at a non-profit educational institution, and allows for the performance or display of any copyrighted work without seeking permission. Playing a DVD or CD for a class (in whole or in part), singing a song together, or holding up purchased or borrowed copies of a book or artwork would be permitted under this exemption. It does not apply to making or distributing copies or to online instruction.

TEACH Act (included in Section 110(2)): The "Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization" Act allows instructors to perform or display copyrighted works in distance education environments. However, there are a number of restrictions. Here are some useful resources specifically related to the TEACH Act:

Copyright & Blackboard

Uploading vs. linking to articles in Blackboard: is there a difference?

Yes! You may have PDF copies of various articles or book chapters saved on your personal computer that you downloaded through a library catalog. When you did so, you used your authorized library credentials to access a licensed work, and agreed to not make additional copies or redistribute the work. 

Instead of uploading those to Blackboard, you should link to where the article appears in the library catalog. This way, each student that chooses to download the article will have to do so using their authorized library credentials. This is in accordance with the various license agreements the library negotiates with publishers, and protects everyone involved from copyright infringement. 

If you are unsure of how to link to the library catalog, ask a librarian. You can also link to publicly available resources elsewhere on the internet. 

Public Domain

Public Domain: A work is in the public domain if its copyright term has expired, or if it has never been covered by copyright (such as works authored by the U.S. Government). Works in the public domain may be used for any reason by anyone since copyright does not apply.

Creative Commons

There are a wealth of resources that are distributed under Creative Commons licenses, which already grant permission for a variety of uses. Most are applicable for educational purposes. CC Search has a collection of websites where you can find Creative Commons-licensed works. 


Based on: Copyright for Instructors from ASU Libraries.