Public and private screening

A public screening is the showing of moving pictures to an audience in a public place. The event screened may be live or recorded, free or paid, and may use film, video, or a broadcast method such as satellite or closed-circuit television. Popular events for public screenings include films, sporting events, and concerts. Private screening refers to the screening of a commercially made film to a group of people somewhere other than one of their homes. Private screening can be legally complex, as the rules and regulations vary from country to country.


Fans at the Fifa World Cup 2006 at the Olympiapark, Munich
Screening of Euro 2012 soccer

Live public screenings of association football matches, called "public viewing" became especially popular at the 2006 football World Cup in Germany.[1]

United Kingdom

Showing a DVD or video to a group of people outside of the home is legally regarded as a public showing, and is therefore in breach of copyright for DVDs/videos that have been purchased or hired for domestic use. To organise a group screening, permission from the copyright owner of the title in question will need to be obtained. Obtaining such rights clearances can be a complex procedure.

For certain types of screening ("non-theatrical" screening), it is possible to hire a copy of a film from its distributor with the rights already cleared. The primary non-theatrical distributors of feature films on DVD, video and 16mm in Britain are the BFI and Filmbank Distributors.[2]

Another option is to buy a blanket licence for the year known as a 'Public Video Screening Licence' which may work out cheaper if showing film is to be a regular event.[3]

To use a personal legal copy of the film on DVD, Blu-ray or download then a further option would be to contact the Motion Picture Licensing Company. The Motion Picture Licensing Company (International) Limited, represents over 400+ major Hollywood studios and independent film producers in the UK and is the largest non-theatrical licensing company worldwide. It provides a ‘blanket licence’ called the MPLC Umbrella Licence for incidental, nontheatrical film use. Licensees may use their own legally obtained DVD/Blu-ray/downloads at one low annual fee for unlimited annual screenings. It also provides a ‘title reporting’ licence for film club events via the MPLC Movie Licence.

See also


  1. Pleitgen, Fred (May 10, 2010). "Germany's World Cup legacy: What can South Africa learn?". Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  2. "Is it on DVD or video? Checking DVD and video availability in Britain". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  3. "Welcome to Filmbank". Filmbank. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06.

External links

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