Copyright Compliance and Public Performances.
The Federal Copyright Act specifies that copyrighted materials like movies can be used publicly if properly licensed. However, neither the rental nor purchase of a movie carries the right to exhibit it outside of one’s home. The good news is Swank can properly license movies for a copyright compliant exhibition.
What exactly is a public performance?
A public performance is the screening of a movie that is shown outside of someone’s home.
Why should I obey copyright law?
Violating copyright law through unauthorized use of a movie:
- Prevents those who worked hard on a film from receiving their just compensation.
- Essentially steals motivation to create from authors, computer programmers, playwrights, musicians, inventors, movie producers and more.
A public performance licensing fee includes money paid to the entire cast and crew who worked on a film from start to finish. If these men and women do not receive this hard-earned revenue through sources like licensing fees, they may no longer invest their time, research and development costs to create new movies.
Who does copyright law apply to?
This law applies to everyone, regardless of:
- Whether admission is charged.
- Whether the institution is commercial or nonprofit.
- Whether a federal, state or local agency is involved.
- What year the movie was produced.
- The size of the audience.
This means parks, recreation departments, colleges, universities, public schools, public libraries, day care facilities, summer camps, churches, private clubs, prisons, lodges, businesses and more all must properly license movies to show them publicly.
Who can provide me with the proper licensing?
Only Swank can provide the necessary licensing to show films at your park facilities on behalf of the studios we cover.
Do we need a license even if we don’t charge admission?
A license is required for all public performances regardless of whether admission is charged.
What if someone owns the movie?
The rental, purchase, lending or download of a movie does not provide the right to screen it publicly outside the home unless the screening is properly licensed.
What if a third party says it is okay to exhibit the movie?
All movies are sold as “home use only” and do not contain legal permission for use outside the home. You can only obtain copyright licensing directly from a licensor (such as Swank) or the studio itself, not from a third party.
Who’s responsible if a film is shown without a license?
The management of the venue or premises where the movie is shown bears the ultimate responsibility and consequences of copyright infringement. However, anyone involved with the public performance of copyrighted material could be implicated.
If I purchased a license to show a movie, can I show that movie whenever I want?
Unfortunately, no. Licenses are valid for a specific, designated time frame. However, Swank can tailor this license to fit your needs.
A small group is having an informal gathering in our park. Do we still need a license?
Yes, a license needs to be obtained regardless of the number of people attending the screening if the movie is being shown outside the home.