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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 license 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

Ron Wheeler
Head of Business & Legal Affairs and Studio Relations

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…

  • I show movies and tv programmes publicly but I don’t charge any admission or viewing fees. Do I need an MPLC Public Performance Licence?
    Yes you do. An MPLC Public Performance licence is required to legally show movies and TV programmes to the public or any closed user group of customers, members or other people. In fact an MPLC Public Performance licence only allows you to show movies for free to people. If you would like to c…
  • Do charities and non-profit organisations need an MPLC licence?
    Yes, copyright law applies to all organisations and businesses, including not-for-profit organisations, members clubs, public sector organisations and charities. So when you are showing movies and TV programmes publicly either to a group of the general public or a closed group of members or suppo…
  • I work for a public or governmental organisation or entity, do we need a licence?
    Yes, copyright law applies to all organisations and businesses, including not-for-profit organisations, members clubs, public sector organisations and charities. So when you are showing movies and TV programmes publicly either to a group of the general public or a closed group of members or suppo…
  • We already have a public performance licence that allows us to play music, do we need this as well?
    Yes you do.A licence for playing music in a public space allows you to play music. The money collected through that licence goes to the artists, performers and music labels that produce the music. To play audiovisual content–films and TV programmes–you need a separate licence for those and that’s…
  • Will you take legal action against me if I do not buy a licence?
    We do not like to refer unlicensed organisations to our rightsholders for legal action as it is expensive and wasteful for everyone and can result in exceptional costs for a small business. An MPLC licence is affordable, easy to buy and can be in place immediately so we would much rather talk to you…
  • Can I use DVD’s and Blu-ray videos in public spaces
    Yes you can but to do this legally you need to buy an affordable MPLC Public Performance Licence which collects a small amount of money from you to pay to the content producers and Hollywood studios that made the contents of the DVD or Blu-ray that you are showing. DVD’s and Blu-ray disks will in…
  • We are a private club occasionally showing documentaries. Do we need an MPLC Public Performance Licence?
    Yes you do. It doesn’t matter whether you are a private club or open to the public you are treated the same - only a private household is exempt. And whether you show documentaries or the latest Hollywood blockbuster it doesn’t matter. But don’t worry, MPLC Public Performance Licences are affo…
  • To get an MPLC Public Performance Licence do I need to tell you what movies or programmes we are showing?
    No you do not. The licence covers everything produced by the thousands of rights holders who we represent so you do not need to tell us what you are showing. MPLC Public Performance Licences are affordable, easy to buy and can be put in place immediately. They are the legal way to show movies …
  • I’ve been running my business for many years without a licence. Why do I suddenly need one now?
    We often get asked this question and we understand it can come as a surprise when you suddenly have a new licence to pay for something that you haven’t heard of before. In Ireland, the legislation changed in 2000 making this additional licence required and we have been working hard to catch up an…

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.