Frequently Asked Questions.
What We Do
- What does Movie Licensing USA do?
- Why do I need Movie Licensing USA’s services?
- What exactly is a public performance?
- Who appointed Movie Licensing USA to issue Public Performance Licensing?
- Which Hollywood studios does Movie Licensing USA represent?
- We have been using movies in our library for years. Why haven't we heard of this before?
- I’ve heard of a similar type of license called a “blanket license.” Is this the same thing as an Annual Public Performance Site License?
- We are buying movies from a catalog which says their movies are licensed to show in a school, public library, etc. Is this accurate?
- Why are some movies available under the Annual Site License, but others require a Single Event License?
- How can I confirm that a movie I'd like to show is covered under the Annual Public Performance Site License?
- What if an outside organization such as a business or organization wants to show an entertainment movie in our facility?
- Where can I acquire entertainment movies after we receive our license?
- Are there limitations to an Annual Public Performance Site License?
- How can I use my license to promote a movie event?
- How will the renewal of my license be handled?
- What are the Single Event Public Performance License copyright restrictions?
- What if I have an unforeseen circumstance after ordering a Single Event Public Performance License?
- Where can I find more information about copyright laws?
What We Do
What does Movie Licensing USA do?
Movie Licensing USA provides movies and movie licensing to public libraries and K-12 schools that want to show films legally on their property. We work with everyone from the best studios in Hollywood to the most innovative indie film companies to help individuals turn everyday events into extraordinary experiences.
Why do I need Movie Licensing USA’s services?
According to the Federal Copyright Act, copyrighted materials like movies can only be used for a public performance if they’re properly licensed. However, neither the rental nor purchase of a movie carries the right to exhibit it outside of one’s home. So how can you get your movie and site licensed so you can show your movie? That’s where we come in.
What exactly is a public performance?
A public performance is an exhibition of a movie that is shown outside of someone’s home. Fees collected for public performance site licensing compensate the copyright owners and the men and women who work on a film from start to finish.
Who appointed Movie Licensing USA to issue Public Performance Licensing?
Major and minor film studios trust Movie Licensing USA as their liaison and agent to provide Public Performance Licensing for their library of movies.
Which Hollywood studios does Movie Licensing USA represent?
These studios are covered under the annual license for Public Libraries: 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, NBC/Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema, Lionsgate Films, MGM, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Summit Entertainment, Focus Features, Miramax, Warner Independent Pictures, Fine Line Features, United Artists, DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Vantage and Screen Gems. To confirm whether or not a title is covered under this license, please search for the title on this website or call us at 1-877-321-1300.
Movie Licensing USA also works with these studios on a title by title basis: A24, Magnolia Pictures, IFC Films, Cohen Media, Cinedigm, Good Deed Entertainment, Filmrise, Lantern Entertainment, TSI/Amazon, Bleecker Street, STX Entertainment, Monterey Media, Relativity, Samuel Goldwyn and many others. For more information on obtaining single event licensing, please order online, contact us or call 1-888-267-2658.
We have been using movies in our library for years. Why haven't we heard of this before?
Unauthorized use of someone else's copyrighted materials in the U.S. has been a copyright law violation since 1970. Movie studios have had a compliance royalty procedure for use of their films in place for many years.
Currently, most of the major studios have made copyright compliance simpler and less expensive for libraries by appointing Movie Licensing USA as their sole agent to assist in their copyright enforcement program.
I’ve heard of a similar type of license called a “blanket license.” Is this the same thing as an Annual Public Performance Site License?
They’re the same thing. Sometimes referred to as a "blanket license,” our Annual Public performance Site License gives your library the right to show copyrighted movies legally for an entire year.
We are buying movies from a catalog which says their movies are licensed to show in a school, public library, etc. Is this accurate?
No vendor selling entertainment movies has legal permission to grant you these rights. Videos with public performance rights are often documentaries produced by independent distributors and are separate from this license.
Why are some movies available under the Annual Site License, but others require a Single Event License?
The simple answer is that it depends on which studio owns the non-theatrical rights for the particular movie you want to show. Studios covered by the Annual Site License allow any of their titles to be shown as part of the Annual Site License’s coverage. Other studios request their titles only be available as Single Event Licenses. If a title is not owned by the studios covered by the Annual Site License, it must be licensed on an individual basis before it can be shown to remain compliant with U.S. copyright laws.
How can I confirm that a movie I'd like to show is covered under the Annual Public Performance Site License?
You can check to see if the movie you want to show is covered with our movie search tool. If the film appears with “single event license” listed underneath it, it is not covered by the annual license and an additional Single Event Public Performance License needs to be acquired. If this is the case, please contact us for more information. However, if the film title appears without this label, it is covered under the annual license.
What if an outside organization wants to show a movie in our facility?
This is legally permitted if the library itself has an Annual Public Performance Site License from Movie Licensing USA. Libraries without such a license will be held liable if an outside organization shows movies in their facility.
Where can I acquire entertainment movies after we receive our license?
You can use movies that are secured from any legal source (DVDs, digital copies or any other legal format). While we cannot speak for other companies, we recommend checking the terms and conditions of any streaming service used to confirm that they do not prohibit public performance.
Are there limitations to an Annual Public Performance Site License?
This license is for libraries only. This license does not permit movies to be used when an admission fee is charged, other than to cover costs. In lieu of charging an admission, you may suggest "donations" and/or provide concessions.
Outdoor showings are not allowed or covered under our movie licensing agreements. In addition, the movies may not be altered, duplicated, digitized or transmitted electronically in any form without specific permission from the copyright owner.
How can I use my license to promote a movie event?
By following these simple guidelines, you can stay in compliance while promoting your event. Please note, the reason for these guidelines is to avoid direct competition with a local movie theater.
- Advertising Inside Your Library and to Registered Borrowers:
Within the library building, you are free to advertise the movie title, studio name and movie artwork. Artwork cannot be altered and must contain the studio’s copyright, for example: ©Walt Disney Pictures.
You are also free to advertise the movie title, studio name and movie artwork on the library’s website as well as in correspondence such as standard mailings, emails and monthly newsletters to registered borrowers/card holders of the library. The library website is considered a virtual branch of the library, allowing for such advertising.
Movie Licensing USA makes it easy to create publicity with customizable posters, bookmarks and movie tickets that are already properly copyrighted. This feature can be found on our website at library.movlic.com/publicity. Your customer number is located on your license certificate. Copyrighted movie images are also available using the movie search feature on our website. Artwork found on the MLUSA website can be used to advertise your event as long as it is not altered and includes the studio’s copyright, for example: ©Walt Disney Pictures.
- Advertising in Social Media
If the public library’s social media accounts are set to private, the title may be used. If the library’s social media accounts are not set to private, it is recommended the title not be included. The movie event may be promoted on the social media pages with a link to the title on the library’s website.
- Advertising in Public Media
If you choose to advertise through public media (such as public radio, television, or newspapers), you may do so as long as your message does not include the movie title and studio name. For example, “Join us at Anytown Library for a Neighborhood Movie Night at 7:00 pm” is permitted.
How will the renewal of my license be handled?
Your Annual Public Performance Site License will automatically renew at the end of your initial agreement. About a month prior to expiration, the renewal packet will be mailed. As long as payment is made promptly, your library will remain in compliance without interruption. You may, however, request cancellation any time after the initial terms of the agreement. Requests for cancellation can be made by calling 1-888-267-2658 or contacting us.
What are the Single Event Public Performance License copyright restrictions?
The Single Event Public Performance License is a limited license to exhibit only the agreed upon movie on the specified show date in your library. This license protects a showing of a title that is not covered by the annual license. The showing must take place inside the library building and does not cover any showing of the movie outside of the library building. Please contact us for more information on obtaining a Single Event Public Performance License.
Please note that changing the movie title or show date after the license has been processed will result in a $25 service fee. Violation of this agreement is subject to the penalties set forth in the Federal Copyright Act.
What if I have an unforeseen circumstance after ordering a Single Event Public Performance License?
If you are unable to hold your event due to inclement weather, electrical problems or other malfunctions, you may reschedule your selected movie title within one year of the original show date. Movie Licensing USA must be promptly informed by phone or email prior to the scheduled showing so your account can be noted. Please contact your Copyright Licensing Manager for complete details.
Where can I find more information on copyright laws?
For more information on copyright laws, feel free to read these sources:
- Copyright Law of the United States of America
Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays.
- Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
The MPAA is an anti-piracy organization that is dedicated to assisting local governments and law enforcement authorities in the investigation and prosecution of piracy cases.
- Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide
By Carol Mann Simpson, 5th edition, (Linworth Publishing, c2010).
- Commonsense Copyright: A Guide For Educators & Librarians
by Rosemary Talab, 2nd edition. (McFarland & Co. Publishing, c1999).
- Kids In Mind
This site rates kids movies on a scale of 1-10 on categories of "sex & nudity," "violence & gore" and "profanity" and gives examples from the movie on each.
This site explains the rating system that movies are set up with. There is also a 25 page PDF file on this site that goes into vast description on each rating.
How do I fund our library film program?
There are several ways you can fund your program. For example, you can have a local business sponsor your program in exchange for a sign at their business that reads “This business supports our local library.” Your library could also feature a sign that states “This Books to Movie program was sponsored by XYZ business.”
Grants are available through various organizations like the ALA, your state, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and more. Simple ideas like a book fair, fall festival, silent auction or bake sale can also help contribute toward the cost. Call us or visit ALA’s Idea Sharing page for more fundraising ideas!
How can I get more information about my invoice or payment?
Please call your Copyright Licensing Manager or Accounts Receivable at 800-876-5445.
Who do I make my check out to?
Please make checks payable to Movie Licensing USA.