Copyright Compliance and Public Performances.

The Federal Copyright Act specifies that copyrighted materials like movies can be used publicly if properly licensed. Yet, neither the rental nor purchase of a movie carries the right to exhibit it outside of one’s home. Movie Licensing USA can properly license movies for a copyright compliant showing in your library. 


What exactly is a public performance?
A public performance is an exhibition 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 license ensures money will be 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 all U.S. schools, 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.

This means public libraries, colleges, universities, public schools, day care facilities, parks, recreation departments, 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 Movie Licensing USA can provide the necessary licensing to show films at your library on behalf of the studios we represent. 


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 exhibit it publicly outside the home unless the screening is properly licensed.


Who’s responsible if a film is shown without a license?
The management of the library where the movie is shown bears the ultimate responsibility and consequences of copyright infringement.


If I purchased a Single Event Public Performance License to show a movie, can I show that movie whenever I want?
Unfortunately, no. These licenses are only valid for a specific, designated time frame.


A small group is having an informal gathering in our facility. Do we still need a license?
A license needs to be obtained regardless of the number of people attending the screening if the movie is being shown outside the home.


Where can I find more information on copyright laws?

For more information on copyright laws, feel free to read these sources: