In compliance with the Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code) regarding film and video piracy, anyone requesting to show a film or view other copyrighted materials (i.e. movies or TV shows via DVD, a streaming platform, personal property, checked out from a library, etc.) on the University of Iowa campus must obtain the appropriate Public Performance License providing permission to show copyrighted materials in public settings. Neither the rental nor the purchase of a DVD or online streaming service carries the right to show the material outside the home.

If your organization wants to stream a movie or TV show at a meeting or event, you may need to obtain rights to the media. Please review the information below about some options for streaming media.

Before working to obtain rights to a movie, TV show, or documentary, please try to find your media on the Univeristy of Iowa's Libraries page. They provide many titles that you can stream for free:

Some streaming companies may offer documentaries to be screened for educational purposes. For example, Netflix has a one time educational screening policy and has opened up select documentaries for free on their YouTube page during COVID-19.

If these options do not work, obtaining permission can be done one of two ways:

  1. Contact the company directly who owns the movie rights. This is a popular option for independent films and documentary films.
  2. Contact SWANK Motion Pictures. You can call Dana Hillyer at 1-800-876-5577 or email her at Dana will ask you a few preliminary questions such as projected audience size and ticket cost if charging. Movie and TV shows can range from $50-$1,000.  You can pay by credit card over the phone for the movie rights. She will send you a copy of your receipt and tell you how to obtain the movie/show (sent in mail, rented, or downloaded online).

In both cases, the company will send you a copy of the rights to display the materials.

**Failure to obtain the copy rights is breaking Federal Law and may result in disciplinary action against your student organization.**