What licences do I need?

Want to screen a film but not sure how to get started? Here's our background on non-theatrical exhibition and the licences you need to consider.

To put on public screenings of films outside of a traditional cinema context is called non-theatrical exhibition. Examples include film clubs, schools, bars, hotels, oil-rigs, shops, holiday resorts, care homes and hospitals as well as community groups. Films screened non-theatrically are usually screened from Blu-ray or DVD.

Any screening of a film to a group of people requires licensing, whether they are a paying audience or not. It’s a popular misconception that it is perfectly legal to screen films to a non-paying audience and this is simply not the case. There are clear legal channels for screening any film outside the home.

Licensing

There are two areas of licensing to consider:

  1. Film copyright licensing – the licence to screen the particular film title(s) you wish to show, required for all screenings outside the home
  2. Premises licensing – the licence for the activity of screening a film to the public, required only if tickets are being sold

The two permissions (licensing the films and the Licensing Act 2003) are completely separate and the possession of one licence does not provide exemption from any requirements of the other.

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