Public Library Movies FAQs: 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 in our library 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 libraries by appointing Movie Licensing USA as their sole agent to assist in their copyright enforcement program.
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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 library the right to show copyrighted movies legally.
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What if an outside organization such as a book club or civic organization wants to show an entertainment movie in our facility?
This is only legally permitted if the library itself has a Public Performance Site License from Movie Licensing USA. Libraries 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 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.
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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, online rental store or your personal collection.
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Are there limitations to this Public Performance Site License?
Yes. This license is for public libraries only. This license does not permit entertainment movies to be used when an admission fee is charged, other than to cover costs. 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 restrictions?
The following advertising guidelines are suggestions and are subject to change at the discretion of the producing studio. Within your facility, you are free to advertise the movie title, studio, actors and artwork (as long as it includes the studio’s copyright, for example: ©Walt Disney Pictures). You may also use the promotional material found on our website to advertise in your library or to pass out directly to patrons. If you choose to advertise through public media (such as public radio, television, newspaper, press release, website etc), 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 7:00pm" is permitted. Many libraries list their phone number and direct readers to call the library for specific movie information.
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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 library will remain in compliance without interruption. You may, however, request cancellation anytime after the initial agreement. Requests need to be made by calling
1-888-267-2658 or emailing libraries@movlic.com.
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What are the One-Time License Copyright Restrictions?
The One-Time license is a limited license to exhibit only the agreed upon movie title and date in your library. This license does not cover outdoor showings. Please note that change of date or movie title may result in a $25.00 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 One-Time License?
®must be informed by phone or email prior to the scheduled show date in order to avoid a $25.00 service fee.
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How do I fund our library film program?
Have a local business sponsor your program in exchange for a sign at their business such as “This business supports our local library” or a sign at the library which states “this Books to Movie program was sponsored by XYZ business.”
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Friends Group Sponsorship or Fundraiser
Visit www.folusa.com (Friends of the Library) “Good Ideas from the Network” page for fundraising ideas.

Grants are available through various organizations such as:


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