Documentaries have long been a great way to entertain, educate, and inspire. However, many people do not know that movies, TV programs, and other content, when purchased, rented or streamed, are intended for personal, private use only. More importantly, they require a license when shown in public.
Our Public Screening License reward allows a person or entity the right to show the movie in public one time after post-theatrical distribution begins. In A Billion Lives, public screening licenses were issued to organizations such as hospitals, schools, shops, and large event promoters.
It typically does not allow charging for admission, but the license can be customized as needed. Please message us with any questions and we look forward to hearing about all your events!
Here is the official guidance from the Motion Picture Association of America:
“The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the US Code) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be used. Neither the rental nor the purchase of a copy of a copyrighted work carries with it the right to publicly exhibit the work. No additional license is required to privately view a movie or other copyrighted work with a few friends and family or in certain narrowly defined face-to-face teaching activities. However, bars, restaurants, private clubs, prisons, lodges, factories, summer camps, public libraries, daycare facilities, parks and recreation departments, churches, and non-classroom use at schools and universities are all examples of situations where a public performance license must be obtained. This legal requirement applies regardless of whether an admission fee is charged, whether the institution or organization is commercial or nonprofit, or whether a federal or state agency is involved.
“Willful infringement of these rules is a federal crime carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine. Even inadvertent infringement is subject to substantial civil damages.”
Public screenings, even by nonprofit or educational organizations, are not allowed unless you have purchased a film that comes with public performance rights (PPR) or obtained a public performance license (also referred to as a public screening licenses, site license, umbrella license, or blanket license).