Film Screenings

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Showing films and movies can be great way to reach out to other students, and they can have an educational or thematic benefit to your event. But many student groups are unclear about copyright restrictions. Most movies are copyrighted and cannot be legally shown in a public setting without permission from the copyright holder.

Student organizations are responsible for obtaining appropriate permissions and licenses for the public performance of a feature film. Movies shown in public must be obtained through a source authorized to distribute licensed copies. Typical consumer sources, such as retail and rental sources and libraries, do not provide copies that qualify for public showings. This means that you cannot simply purchase a movie from a local store and then show it at an event.

This policy also applies to feature films that have been downloaded from the internet, purchased or rented. The policy applies to UW Tacoma students, whether they are the person who obtained the feature film or the film has been obtained by someone else and is being used by the student.

The Center for Student Involvement can assist student organizations in obtaining rights to show a movie at an event through certified vendors. Contact us at if you need assistance with this process.

What's a Public Showing?

Public showings include events and student-sponsored events to which the public (including UW Tacoma students, non-students, and faculty/staff) are invited, or for which a fee is charged. In general, the term “public showing” includes any area “outside of the home”. This includes many spaces on the UW Tacoma campus, including outdoors, WPH, the UWY, classrooms, etc.