Public Performance

Public performance of a copyrighted work generally will involve licensing that work for display under copyright law This includes dramatic productions, readings, and displays of film, video, or audio that are made available for a general audience to attend or view (and not limited to enrolled students in a course). This covers both events held at a particular location and time, and broadcast via cable television on campus. Any performance that takes place at the College will generally be considered a public performance. Permission to perform copyrighted work may be obtained through ASCAP and BMI, two companies that Luther College has performance agreements with. Contact the Campus Programming Office, ext. 1291, to request performance permission through ASCAP and BMI. Any music or dramatic work not covered by these agreements requires permission from the copyright owner, and individuals or groups desiring to use such works must seek permission of the copyright owner. Public performances of copyrighted works, however, are permitted under certain circumstances. The statute distinguishes between dramatic works and non-dramatic works, grouping musical performances (but not musicals) with the latter.

Examples of dramatic works:

  • when a performance takes place in the course of a face-to-face teaching activity.
  • when it is conducted in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction.
  • in the case of an audiovisual work, when the copy has been lawfully made.

Performances of dramatic works must meet the above three criteria. If in doubt, you should seek permission from the copyright holder. Permission to perform a dramatic work does not automatically give license to videotape the performance. If the dramatic work is protected by copyright, permission is required to videotape a performance as well as retain and distribute that videotape.