On-Campus Movie Screenings

Nearly all situations in which a student organization will show a movie on campus are required to have a movie license.

For assistance in obtaining a movie license, contact the Office of Student Involvement at involvement@depaul.edu.

For more information on movie licenses, click here.

Have further questions about movie licenses?  See the frequently asked question listing below.

  • Why do we need a movie license?

    The Federal Copyright Act specifies that copyrighted materials like movies can be used publicly if properly licensed. However, neither the rental nor purchase of a movie carries the right to exhibit it outside of one’s home.

    For more information on movie copyright, visit the Swank Motion Pictures Copyright website here.

  • I've heard that there is an exemption for movie licenses for movies shown for educational purposes.  What does that mean?  Does our organization qualify for this?

    In short, there are very few circumstances in which a student organization actually qualifies for the educational purposes exemption.

    The "Face-to-Face Teaching Exemption" allows copyrighted movies to be shown in a college or university setting without copyright permission only if all criteria are met:

    • A teacher or instructor is present, engaged in face-to-face teaching activities.
    • The institution must be an accredited, nonprofit educational institution.
    • The showing takes place in a classroom setting with only the enrolled students attending.
    • The movie is used as an essential part of the core, required curriculum being taught. (The instructor should be able to show how the use of the motion picture contributes to the overall required course study and syllabus.)
    • The movie being used is a legitimate copy, not taped from a legitimate copy or taped from TV.

    This means the "Face-to-Face Teaching Exemption" does not apply outside the nonprofit, in-person, classroom teaching environment. It doesn't apply to movies shown online – even if they’re part of course-related activities and websites. It also doesn't apply to interactions that are not in-person - even simultaneous distance learning interactions. It doesn't apply at for-profit educational institutions either. For specific requirements, please reference The Copyright Act of 1976, Public Law No. 94-553, 90 stat 2541: Title 17; Section 110(i), or consult your copyright attorney.

    For more information on movie copyright, visit the Swank Motion Pictures Copyright website here.

  • What if we are going to a movie theater?

    If you are going to a movie theater and everyone is purchasing their own ticket or you are renting the full theater, you do not need a supplemental movie license.

  • I want to show a movie via Zoom or Discord.  Is this allowed?

    No - It is illegal to show a movie in Zoom or Discord to a group of people.  This is a violation of the Federal Copyright Act and also goes against the user agreements for Zoom and Discord.

  • Can we use Netflix Party or Disney+ GroupWatch?

    Netflix Party or Disney+ GroupWatch can be used for movie screenings when every person has an individual account to join in.  When using a platform like Netflix Party or Disney+ GroupWatch, you cannot show the film in a public setting (IE: on a screen in a room in the Student Center).