Frequently Asked Questions
Q We show movies, TV, and other audiovisual content via DVD, Blu-Ray, download, stream, over the air broadcast, cable, or satellite TV. Do we still need a license to view or show it in public?
A Yes. The content obtained in all those ways is meant for personal, private use only and is not meant for showing in public. An Umbrella License is needed when MPLC’s rights holders’ content is shown in public.
Q I already have a cable or satellite business package. Do I also need an Umbrella License?
A Yes. While cable and satellite business packages include public performance rights for some content (e.g., for live sports), the packages do not include public performance rights for all the content available in the package. The Umbrella License gives you the most coverage commercially available to fill the remaining gaps, thus protecting you from claims not covered by the rights included in a business package.
Q We do not charge admission to show the content. 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 only covers situations where admission is not charged.
Q Are there exceptions to the Copyright Act that allow my business to provide movies or TV for free?
A While some exceptions do exist, generally it is difficult for businesses to avoid the legal requirement of obtaining public performance licenses for the use of audiovisual content in their facility.
Q Is MPLC similar to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC?
A Yes. MPLC collects for the public performance of audiovisual content. Just like you may pay for a music streaming service, and then also pay a royalty to the music collection agencies, MPLC is an audiovisual collection organization which collects public performance royalties on behalf of its audiovisual rights holders.
Q What happens if we choose not to comply with the Copyright Act?
A Failure to comply with the Copyright Act can result in serious financial consequences, ranging from $750 to $150,000 for each illegal exhibition, plus court costs and attorney fees. These can really add up. For example, a defendant in one case was required to pay $36,000 in damages and over $160,000 in attorney’s fees and costs for playing unlicensed music.
Q What are the guidelines for promoting exhibitions under the Umbrella License?
A You may promote exhibitions inside your facility, for example, on flyers inside the building or through direct correspondence such as an email or letter. When promoting exhibitions in this manner, you may include the title, character names or rights holder name. When promoting exhibitions to the general public, limitations apply. For example, if you promote exhibitions on a website, on a social media account, or via any publicly accessible means (e.g. newspapers, billboards), you cannot use the title, character names, or rights holder name. However, it is OK to provide this information in response to a call, text, or email.
Q Are discounts available?
A Yes. Reduced pricing is available for members of the American Camp Association (ACA). Members of the Christian Camp & Conference Association (CCCA) must obtain their license through CVLI here: https://us.cvli.com/churches-camps-ministries/email-mplc
Q Does the Umbrella License cover outdoor exhibitions at our camp?
A Yes. The Umbrella License may be used for unlimited indoor or outdoor exhibitions at your camp. Please note that any outdoor performances should be limited to guests staying at your camp.
Q We rent out our facility to other groups. Can we be liable for copyright infringement?
A Yes. You may be held contributorily or vicariously liable for the copyright infringement if you have a financial interest in the activity and/or make your facility available for a public performance.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the MPLC at (800) 462-8855 or via web.