Question from the Field: Public Performance Rights

FilmReels.popturfdotcomAn area media specialist/tech integrationist asked:  Our District Grad Party Committee wants to show a Shrek movie as part of the all night graduation party.  We know they likely have to pay licensing/royalties to do so. What I’m working to find out is why do we pay?  And how much is it?

Solutions to this question:

  1. It is wise to ask administration if they already have some sort of performance rights they’ve paid for OR whether they have a procedure in place for doing this. Knowing the internal procedure could help a great deal when working with the business office for payment too. Schools often have information about this because of performance rights that are needed for drama and music. IF there is nothing in place, move on to option 2!
  2. A search was done  using the terms “public performance rights” to produce a very helpful page on the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, one of the oldest public libraries in the nation.  You will want to bookmark this site, as it includes:
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Public Performance Rights,
  • Vendors that Sell Movies with Public Performance Rights,
  • How to Get Permission to Show Copyrighted Movies,
  • Vendors that Grant Public Performance Rights for Copyrighted Movies.

In reading the information, our media person then moved on to Criterion Pictures and got all of the information needed to legally show this movie.  According to her, “After talking via phone with someone there today–it will cost $75 for the group to show Shrek for the grad party.  The amount is based on the number of people, indoors at an school, not charging admission, not using it as a fundraiser.  (The cost could have ranged up to about $200). Criterion does movies from two of the big production companies.  Other companies do others.  They get movies to license when they come out on DVD.”

Wisdom from the Field? Do these two solutions match what you do in your setting? Do you have pearls of wisdom to add to this topic? Please share in the comments field what you know to enrich our toolkit around  public performance rights. Thanks!