Answered By: Ana Enriquez
Last Updated: Oct 11, 2019     Views: 3

For general information about whether permission is necessary for a performance of a copyrighted work (film, sound recording, musical work, etc.), please see our question about performances of copyrighted works.

Dorm rooms

Dorm rooms, like private homes or apartments, are not "a place open to the public." Therefore, a performance there would only qualify as public if "a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered" in the dorm room.

A performance in a dorm room could also be public if it is transmitted to the public or to a public place (e.g., a streaming music performance), but this is rare.

Dorm common areas

If a dorm common area is open to the public (for example, this is the case for some dining and sales areas in residence halls), any performance there is a public performance. In addition, even in areas of a dorm that are open only to residents, it is common for "a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances" to gather. In that case, performances in those areas are also public for the purposes of U.S. copyright law.

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