Copyrighted films (and this is most of them) are not automatically licensed for public performance (this means showing a movie/film in a dorm, auditorium, or any other kind of public space). The only legal exception to this rule is if an instructor shows the video/dvd in a classroom and that the activity is for teaching (aka: face-to-face teaching).
Due to the extra cost and the fact that we are an academic institution we do not purchase films with PPR.
Sometimes it can be confusing to understand when you need to purchase PPR. In general, any time a film is "display[ed] at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered," (Title 17, U.S. Code) you will need to secure PPR rights.
No. Any time you are holding a public event where anyone can come, it is considered a public performance and you will need to purchase rights. Student clubs, student-run film festivals and similar events are all public performances.
Public domain movies do not need Public Performance Rights cleared.
Here are a list of organizations that hold PPR for many films. Swank is a great place to start!
When inquiring about PPR, have the following information on hand: