According to the section 110 of the United States Code, there are exemptions of certain performances and displays (17 U.S.C. § 110). Specifically, it is not considered a copyright infringement if the "performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made."
In instances of face-to-face teaching, showing copyrighted materials is typically acceptable. However, for cases of showing films online or to groups outside of the classroom, a public performance license is needed. Showing copyrighted materials can place a University at risk, which is why it is important to know whether or not the video being shown has the appropriate public performance rights. In many cases, public performance rights are included when a library or school purchases a video but it always best to confirm this information.
Public performance rights can be purchased from the following companies: