Frequently Asked Questions


Q We show movies, TV, and other audiovisual content via DVD, Blu-Ray, download, stream, over the air broadcast, cable, or satellite TV. Do we still need a license to view or show it in public?
A The content obtained in all those ways is meant for personal, private use only and is not meant for showing in public without permission from the rights holder. An Umbrella License may be needed when MPLC’s rights holders’ content is shown in public.
Q We already have a cable or satellite business package. Do I also need an Umbrella License?
A While cable and satellite business packages include public performance rights for some content (e.g., for live sports), the packages may not include public performance rights for all the content available in the package. The Umbrella License gives you the most coverage commercially available to fill the remaining gaps, thus protecting you from claims not covered by the rights included in a business package.
Q We do not charge admission to show the content. Do we still need a license?
A A license may be required regardless of whether an admission fee is charged. In fact, the Umbrella License only covers situations where admission is not charged.
Q What happens if we choose not to comply with the Copyright Act?
A Failure to comply with the Copyright Act can result in serious financial consequences, ranging from $750 to $150,000 for each illegal exhibition, plus court costs and attorney fees. These can really add up. For example, a defendant in one case was required to pay $36,000 in damages and over $160,000 in attorney’s fees and costs for playing unlicensed music.
We only show news or sports channels in our establishment. Do we still need a license?
A While a cable or satellite business package may provide public performance rights for some news and sports channels, the package may not cover public performance rights for programming offered before or after a news or sports program, such as a television series or documentary specials on such channels. It would also address situations when employees and/or patrons change the channel to a channel that has uncovered content.

 Is MPLC similar to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC?
A Yes. MPLC collects for the public performance of audiovisual content. Just like you may pay for a music streaming service, and then also pay a royalty to the music collection agencies, MPLC is an audiovisual collection organization which collects public performance royalties on behalf of its audiovisual rights holders.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.