FAQs licensing for film events
There is much confusion when it comes to licensing for film
events. We asked Filmbank Distributors to explain exactly when and
why you need their licence.
Do we need a licence to screen films at school?
Yes! It is a legal requirement to obtain permission from the
copyright owners (film studios) to show films outside the home or
the cinema for entertainment.
Many of the studios Filmbank represents are members of FACT
(Federation Against Copyright Theft), an investigative body who
combat counterfeiting, piracy and the misuse of its members'
products. Together with FACT, Filmbank is committed to ensuring
that such non-theatrical screenings do not infringe the rights of
the copyright owners. For more information, please refer to the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (and other relevant
legislation) or seek independent legal advice.
What is the right licence for a PTA film night?
The use of film in school offers teachers and PTAs the chance to
entertain, fundraise and engage the community. Filmbank Distributors Ltd represents the
copyright interests of many of the major Hollywood, Bollywood and
Independent film studios for screenings outside the home or cinema
(known as non-theatrical screenings). The type of licence you will
require depends upon how you wish to use films:
- PTA and school events, fundraisers, outdoor screenings
and 'movie premieres': The STSL (Single Title Screening Licence) provides cover
for one-off or multiple planned events (ideal for fundraising)
whether commercial (paying audience) or non-commercial (free
admission). Events covered by STS Licensing can be advertised with
posters around your school and local community. Schools and PTAs
planning a film event may wish to screen one of the many pre-DVD
release movies available through Filmbank just eight to twelve
weeks after their cinema release, providing exciting
'premiere-style' opportunities. With the exception of Grease
Sing-a-Long (available through Filmbank), please contact the
individual film studio directly for approval to run a sing-a-long
- Impromptu screenings such as wet weather breaks and
after-school clubs:The PVSL (Public Video Screening Licence) provides
schools with annual cover (from 1 April to 31 March) for the use of
an unlimited number of films from participating studios, e.g.
during wet weather breaks and after-school clubs including FILMCLUB
(members of FILMCLUB need to get a PVSL through Filmbank or CEFM).
Under PVS Licensing, a school may only show the film to its school
members (staff and students) and may not externally advertise or
charge admission for the screening.
- You will need TheMusicLicence to cover the soundtrack,
however if your school already has this licence, under the CEFM
(Centre for Education and Finance Management) Schools tarrif, and
your event is held on school property, your PTA will be covered.
Visit cefm.co.uk for more details.
- A TEN is not required for a 'not-for-profit' film exhibition
held in community premises between 8am and 11pm on any day,
provided that: the audience does not exceed 500; the organiser gets
consent from a person who is responsible for the premises; and
ensures that each such screening abides by age classification
ratings. The deregulation guidance further explains, "Under this
exemption, one condition is that the film entertainment is not
being provided with a view to profit. An entry charge does not of
itself make the film entertainment licensable; it is whether the
organiser intended to make a profit (that includes raising money
for charity). A charge or contribution that is made solely to cover
the costs of the film screening is consistent with 'not being
provided with a view to profit'. The 'not with a view to profit'
condition applies solely to the activity of exhibiting the film
under this exemption. A charge with a view to making a profit may
legitimately be levied for any other activity or event that is
distinct from film admission, such as the provision of
refreshments, film talks, or a social event."
How much does a film licence cost?
The fee for a PVSL starts from £109.17 + VAT for an annual
licence (1 April to 31 March). The cost of the STSL for each
screening will be a minimum of £83 and allows you to promote your
event. If you are charging for your screening, you will be required
to pay 35% of your total ticket sales or the minimum fee of £83,
whichever is greater. Do not include the value of refreshments
(where they are included in the ticket price) when reporting your
ticket sales to Filmbank.
We market our film event as an 'after-school club'. There's no
need for a separate licence to the one the school uses, is
This is dependent upon the organisation responsible for the
after-school club. If the after-school club is run by a school and
they already hold a Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL), there is
no requirement for an additional licence. If an after-school club
is managed independently from the school, a separate PVSL would be
required by the organisation running the club.
Can anyone help us set up our film screenings?
Contact Filmbank for special 'premiere' screenings and events,
pre-DVD release films and all film licensing enquiries. Into Film, a
BFI-funded education charity, helps schools set up clubs that
provide young people with the chance to watch, discuss and review a
diverse range of films - feeding their imagination and nurturing
their social and intellectual development. Free to state schools
and academies, and offering industry visits, live webcasts and a
weekly 'review of the week' competition, Into Film is a great way
to boost vocational aspirations and inspire reluctant writers.
Please remember that members of Into Film will still need to
purchase a PVSL through Filmbank or CEFM to cover their school.
Read our step-by-step guide to running a film
When might a licence NOT be required?
Films may be used as part of the curriculum during lesson times
without the need for licensing. However, in all other instances -
such as for entertainment purposes - if a school or PTA does not
obtain the required licence they risk infringing copyright. Please
ensure that you are showing films within the law and that your
school is screening films legitimately.
For more information
The above is intended as guidance only. We
recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific
reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child
protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held
responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on
the guidance provided.
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