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Motion Picture Licensing

Motion Picture Licensing

Following a number of recent enquiries from clubs relating to contact from the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC), we have sought guidance from our legal advisers on how clubs should proceed with this matter, and advice from MPLC itself. Please take the time to read the information below, with an application form and contact details provided to assist you further.

Who are the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC)?

The MPLC is a ‘collective management organisation’ (CMO) which is a body which licenses rights on behalf of multiple rights holders in a single (‘blanket’) licence for one single payment. Generally speaking, rights holders will join a CMO as members and instruct it to license rights on their behalf. The MPLC represents more than 900 studios and producers and aims to ensure compliance with copyright law by offering an easy and affordable MPLC Umbrella Licence.

Change to legislation

Previously the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CPDA 1988) permitted public showing or playing of a broadcast by organisations that do not charge an entry fee without the permission of the copyright holder. Following legal action brought by the Football Association Premier League against pubs using unauthorised satellite decoder cards to show live Premier League football matches, the law has now changed. This means that those wishing to make public broadcasts will need to secure the permission of the rightsholders to show any film contained within a broadcast. MPLC sells a blanket licence to cover these rights.

What this extends to

The MPLC website contains an extensive list of producers (916) who are members. Many of these producers make programmes that appear on broadcasts shown on television in club-houses.

Recommended course of action

We recommend that if you intend to continue showing broadcast television in public areas you purchase the Umbrella Licence at the tariff set by the MPLC in the application form. This will involve a calculation of square meterage in the venue to ensure the correct amount is paid. The Umbrella Licence will be for 1 year, subject to having the right to cancel on giving 60 days advance written notice.

Penalties for failing to comply

Failure to comply is a criminal offence which, depending on the scale and severity of the unauthorised broadcasts, could result in a fine or imprisonment, or both. It should be noted that purchasing the Umbrella Licence does not mean that you can no longer be held liable for copyright infringement. The Umbrella Licence only allows the broadcast of programmes made by those producers that the MPLC represents. There may be other licensed works within the broadcast channels so you may need to check with broadcasters that you are permitted to show the films contained within a broadcast.

> MPLC Club Application Form

For further information, please contact:

Deon Marshall

Licensing Representative – Motion Picture Licensing Company


T: 01323 649647 Ext 3511