FAQ : Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes "public performance" of an entertainment movie?
Any showing of an entertainment movie outside the privacy of a home setting is considered a public performance (or public exhibition).
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We have been using movies for non-teaching activities for years. Why haven't we heard of this before?
Use of someone else's copyrighted materials in the U.S. has been a copyright law violation since 1970. The movie studios have had a compliance royalty procedure in place, handling details direct, studio by studio for many years. Currently, most of the major studios have made copyright compliance simpler and less expensive for schools by appointing Movie Licensing USA as their sole agent to assist in their copyright enforcement program.
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If I borrow movies from a public library can I use them legally for entertainment in a school?
No, not if the school itself doesn't have a license. A public library cannot pass on copyright compliance to anyone, nor can anyone else except Movie Licensing USA or the studios themselves do so. If you borrow movies from a public library for student entertainment, such as After School programs in an unlicensed school, you are not only violating copyright law but you are also involving the public library in non-compliance.
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I thought schools were exempt from needing a license to legally use copyrighted movies.
Under the "Educational Exemption" copyrighted entertainment movies may be shown in a school without copyright permission only if all criteria are met:

  • A teacher or instructor is present
  • The showing takes place in a classroom setting with only the enrolled students attending
  • The movie is used as an essential part of the core, required curriculum being taught. (The instructor should be able to show how the use of the motion picture contributes to the overall required course study and syllabus.)
  • The movie being used is a legitimate copy, not taped from a legitimate copy or taped from TV

For specific requirements, please reference The Copyright Act of 1976, Public Law No. 94-553, 90 stat 2541: Title 17; Section 110(i), or consult your copyright attorney.
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What if a video store says it is okay to publicly exhibit rented or purchased entertainment movies?
This is not true. Video stores cannot provide legal permission for use outside the home. These videos, like the movies you own, are for "home use only" and must be licensed for public performance.
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What is a "Blanket License"? Is this the same thing as a public performance license?
Yes, sometimes referred to as a "blanket license", our Public Performance Site License gives your school the right to show copyrighted movies legally.
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What if an outside organization such as an After School Program or Summer Camp wants to show an entertainment movie in our facility?
This is only legally permitted if the school itself has a Public Performance Site License from Movie Licensing USA. Schools without such a license will be held liable if an outside organization involves them in copyright infringement by permitting movies to be used in their facility.
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We are buying entertainment movies from a catalog which says their movies are licensed to show in a school, public library, etc. Is this accurate?
Absolutely not. 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.
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Where can I acquire entertainment movies after we receive our license?
Once licensed, you can exhibit any movies copyrighted by the studios we represent as long as they are secured from a legal source such as a video rental store, your school library or your personal collection.
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Are there limitations to this Public Performance Site License?
Yes. This license is for K-12 Schools only. This license does not permit entertainment 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.
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Are there advertising guidelines?
You may use the promotion material found on our website to advertise in your school or to pass our directly to students and staff. If you choose to advertise through the public media (such as public radio, television or a website), you may do so, as long as the movie title and studio name are not used. For example, "Join us at ABC Elementary for a Family Movie Night at 7:00pm" is permitted.
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How will the renewal of my license be handled?
Your 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 school will remain in compliance without interruption. You may, however, request cancellation anytime after the initial terms of the agreement. Requestsfor cancellation need to be made by calling 1-877-321-1300 or emailing mail@movlic.com.
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What are the Single Event License Copyright Restrictions?
The Single Event License is a limited license to exhibit only the agreed upon movie title and show date in your school. The showing must take place inside the school building and does not cover outdoor events or showings off campus. Please note that change of 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.
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What if I have an unforeseen circumstance after ordering a Single Event 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 informed by phone or email prior to the scheduled showing so your account can be noted. If Movie Licensing USA is not informed promptly, we will not be able to reschedule your event. Movie Licensing USA does not provide refunds in the form of payment, but as a reschedule option should these circumstances occur. Please contact your licensing manager for complete details.
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How can I raise money to help fund the license?
Book fair, fall festival, silent auction or a bake sale are few examples. Visit our fundraising page for more ideas.
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Who do I make my check out to?
Please make checks payable to "MOVIE LICENSING USA".
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