Why You Need A Movie License

Planning to do a church movie night?

Then you need to know about The Copyright Act. Title 17 of the United States Code says that it is illegal to show a movie in any public venue, including churches, clubs, camps and schools* without a movie license. Even inadvertent infringers are subject to significant penalties (as much as $150,000 per exhibition — see Section 506) for doing a public showing without a proper movie license.

If you are planning to do a church movie night, it's important to note that many of the umbrella-style licenses do not allow you to promote your movie event using the movie title, characters or the producers in any external/public advertisement/publicity. In fact, many movie producers are moving toward a licensing model that allows churches to use their films as outreach resources, provides significant promotion for their film, and a larger share of the license revenues to fund new films in the future, like the licenses provided by Outreach.

At Outreach Films we've worked with producers to not only provide you with a movie license that allows you to show the movie for an entire year, it also allows you to promote your event by talking about the specific movie you will be showing. Plus, many of the films Outreach provides include web and social media graphics and even discussion questions. Some films also have coordinated promotional materials, small group curriculum or even sermons available for purchase separately so you can plan a church-wide event around your movie night.

So don't risk a hefty fine, get your movie licensed and then be sure to invite your whole community to join in on the fun!,/p>

*Non-profit schools can show movies without a movie license for "face-to-face teaching activities" — the details of what is included under this exception are outlined in Section 110(1).


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