Frequently Asked Questions
Q We show movies, TV programs, and other 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 the content, 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. In fact, the Umbrella License covers only those situations where admission is not charged.
Q We’re a nonprofit organization. Do we still need a license?
A Yes. A public performance license is required for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Q How much does the Umbrella License cost?
A In most cases, MPLC has set license fees based on the type and size of the facility. However, if the facility and/or use falls outside of these categories, the fee is based on the nature and size of the audience and the 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 nonprofit academic institutions that only utilize movies, TV programs, and other content in instruction, not when the program is used for entertainment purposes.
Q We program movies on a dedicated channel via our in-house closed-circuit television system. Do we need a license?
A Yes. Closed-circuit transmissions are public performances that require a license.
Q We’re not open to the general public. Do we still need a license?
A Yes. “[P]erformances in ‘semipublic’ places such as clubs, lodges, factories, summer camps, and schools are ‘public performances’ subject to copyright control.” (Senate Report No. 94-473, p. 60)
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.
Q Do we need a license to watch TV?
ACertain uses of live television require a license. For example, rightsholder content airing on non-advertiser supported, premium, and pay-per-view television channels, whether cable or satellite. MPLC rightsholder content airing on live, advertiser-supported television does not require a license as it is already intended for public viewing.
QOur employees sometimes watch movies or stream TV shows during their lunch hours. Do we need a license?
AYes. Since the employee is watching in public, coupled with the employer facilitating the performance (the company/organization has provided equipment and/or Wi-Fi), a public performance license is needed.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.