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The legal way to show movies and TV in a public or commercial space.

If you are showing TV programmes or movies in a public space then you need a special licence on top of your TV Licence or TV subscription. This applies to shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, clubs, dentist rooms, car showrooms and even semi-public spaces like membership clubs, employee breakrooms or gyms.

© Marvel Entertainment Disney 2022

Who are MPLC?

MPLC has represented Hollywood studios like Disney, Universal, Paramount, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Dreamworks Animation for over 35 years. These studios, together with hundreds more independent film and TV producers, have appointed MPLC to collect licence revenue from non-theatrical venues – that’s the industry term for places that show movies and TV in public spaces but are not traditional cinemas. MPLC is now the largest non-theatrical TV and movie licensing company in the world.

MPLC was founded in 1985 by a former vice-president of Paramount Pictures and MGM. We now have offices in 28 countries with our headquarters split between the UK and USA. Our UK home is in Eastbourne Sussex, and in the USA we are based, as you might expect, in Los Angeles next to many of the Hollywood studios that we represent.

Nearly 150 people work for MPLC, most of them dedicating their time to explaining to businesses the need to become licensed and then making that affordable, easy and quick.

What is a public performance licence?

Copyright law makes a distinction between “private performance” (e.g., home viewing) and “public performance”. Public performance is where a movie or TV programme is shown in a place where members of the public could see it outside of their own home.

This includes bars and restaurants, hotel rooms, offices and car dealerships, dental surgeries, doctor’s waiting rooms, staff areas even community venues and members-only places and clubs. A public performance licence, available here quickly and affordably, buys you the rights to show TV and movie content to your customers, members or staff. The Hollywood and other studios who created the TV and movie programmes get paid from the licence revenue that we collect for them and that supports thousands of jobs and ongoing creativity.

Who needs a licence?

Almost any business or organisation with a TV screen showing movies or TV programmes in a public space will need a licence. It doesn’t matter how you get your programmes – DVD, Blu-ray, download or streaming, broadcast, terrestrial, cable, or satellite television – it is the programme that needs to be licensed rather than the way you get it.

This might be new information for you, but licences are designed to be quick, easy and affordable.

When you buy a licence from MPLC you are ensuring your business is compliant, removing the risk of prosecution and paying your contribution to the production costs of the content you are using.

But don’t worry, licences are very affordable, easy to buy and can be in place immediately.

Meet our Senior Team

Supporting content creators

At MPLC, we’re passionate about supporting the entertainment industry and helping fund great content. Great content is only possible if creators are paid for the content they produce, so we collect royalties on behalf of our rights holders and ensure they are paid for their work.

And the studios we represent

For over 30 years we have partnered with the world’s most recognised and prestigious Hollywood studios and hundreds of independent producers and content creators worldwide. Together we have deep partnerships and long standing relationships. These studios trust us to collect the royalties they are entitled to and they trust us to behave responsibly and be a respectful guardian for and extension of their brand.

Your questions answered

We’re here for you…

  • We show audiovisual content that we have purchased on DVD or rented through our online streaming service subscription. Do we still need a licence to view or show it in public?
    Yes. The location requires a licence regardless of who owns the content. While you may have rented, borrowed, or purchased an audiovisual program, you are only granted the right to view it for personal, private use, not to perform it in public.…
  • We don’t charge admission. Do we still need a licence?
    Yes. A licence is required regardless of whether an admission fee is charged. However, the Umbrella Licence covers only those situations where admission is not charged.…
  • We’re a non-profit organization. Do we still need a licence?
    Yes. Under the law, it doesn’t matter if you’re a non-profit or for-profit organization. You are required to have a public performance licence to show motion pictures and other audiovisual works.…
  • How much does the Umbrella Licence cost?
    In most cases, the MPLC has set licence fees based on the type and size of facility. However, if the facility and/or use falls outside of these categories, the fee will be based on the nature and size of the audience and anticipated frequency of showings.…
  • Does a preschool qualify for a “face-to-face” teaching exemption?
    No. The educational exemption is narrowly defined and applies to non-profit academic institutions that only utilise films in instruction, not when the program is used for entertainment purposes.…
  • We show films on our closed-circuit system. Do we need a licence?
    Yes. Exhibition of audiovisual works via closed-circuit transmissions are considered public performances. Any non-advertiser supported channels or services also require a licence.…
  • We’re not open to the general public. Do we still need a licence?
    Yes. Any location outside of the home is considered public for copyright purposes, and requires a licence.…
  • We rent out our facility to other groups. Can we be liable for copyright infringement?
    Yes. The facility owner can be held vicariously liable or considered a “contributory infringer”.…

Our Partners

MPLC works closely with leading institutions to support intellectual property rights. Along with our partners, we educate organisations about copyright and the importance of compliance.