Frequently Asked Questions
Q We show audiovisual content that we have purchased on DVD or rented through our online streaming service subscription. Do we still need a license to view or show it in public?
A Yes. The location requires a license regardless of who owns the content. While you may have rented, borrowed, or purchased an audiovisual program, you are only granted the right to view it for personal, private use, not to perform it in public.
Q We don’t charge admission. Do we still need a license?
A Yes. A license is required regardless of whether an admission fee is charged. However, the Umbrella License covers only those situations where admission is not charged.
Q We’re a non-profit organization. Do we still need a license?
A Yes. Under the law, it doesn’t matter if you’re a non-profit or for-profit organization. You are required to have a public performance license to show motion pictures and other audiovisual works.
Q How much does the Umbrella License cost?
A In most cases, the MPLC has set license fees based on the type and size of facility. However, if the facility and/or use falls outside of these categories, the fee will be based on the nature and size of the audience and anticipated frequency of showings.
Q Does a preschool qualify for a “face-to-face” teaching exemption?
A No. The educational exemption is narrowly defined and applies to non-profit academic institutions that only utilize films in instruction, not when the program is used for entertainment purposes.
Q We show films on our closed-circuit system. Do we need a license?
A Yes. Exhibition of audiovisual works via closed-circuit transmissions are considered public performances. Any non-advertiser supported channels or services also require a license.
Q We’re not open to the general public. Do we still need a license?
A Yes. According to Senate Report No. 94-473, p. 60, “performances in ‘semipublic’ places such as clubs, lodges, factories, summer camps and schools are ‘public performances’ subject to copyright control.”
Q We rent out our facility to other groups. Can we be liable for copyright infringement?
A Yes. The facility owner can be held vicariously liable or considered a “contributory infringer”.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the MPLC at (800) 462-8855 or contact us.