FAQs licensing for film events
Does the PTA need a licence to screen films at school?
Yes! To show a film outside of the home, you will need to obtain
permission from the copyright owners in the form of a licence,
whether or not you are showing to a paying audience. Owning a film
on DVD only grants you rights for home use and does not mean you
are permitted to show the film publicly.
There are two areas of licensing for PTAs to consider:
Film copyright licence: the licence to show
your chosen title. This is required for all screenings outside the
Premises licence: required if you aim to
generate a profit from tickets being sold.
These two permissions are completely separate. You may only need
one, but you might need both.
Where do I go to get the right copyright licences?
Although licensing can be complicated, most often for smaller
independant films, the licence for most of the films your PTA will
want to show should be available through either Filmbankmedia or MPLC.
Which kind of licence will we need for a PTA film night?
The type of licence you need depends upon how you intend to run
your film event. There are several common licences which may be of
Filmbankmedia - Single Title Screening Licence
is issued on a title-by-title basis. It allows you to screen a film
from Filmbank's online catalogue. You may charge admission to your
film night or show the film free of charge and are permitted to
promote your event beforehand. You may use a DVD you already own or
show films which are not yet released using their special release
option. The licence must be in place before any promotion begins,
and Filmbank recommends a minimum of two weeks' notice for special
releases so they can post the DVD to you. The website's licensing
wizard can help PTAs check they have the correct licence through a
series of questions.
MPLC - Single Title MPLC Movie Licence is also
issued for one film at a time. You may screen any film from their
Rightsholders list. Again, this can be to a
paying or free-of-charge audience and you may use your own DVD or a
download file bought from a legitimate site.
MPLC - MPLC Umbrella Licence is an annual
licence with a yearly fee which allows groups and organisations to
show unlimited films from the studios, producers and distributors
represented by MPLC. You may not charge admission for the screening
or advertise to the public but can still charge for snacks, drinks
or other add-ons. You must use a legal copy of the film.
You will also need TheMusicLicence to cover the soundtrack, but 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..
How much does a film licence cost?
See Filmbank or MPLC for
pricing details. For a single title licence to show a film to a
paying audience, the fee may vary according to audience
Do I also need a premises licence?
You will need a temporary event notice (TEN) If you plan to
provide 'regulated entertainment' to the public or to members of
your PTA. Showing a film to a paying audience to make a profit is
classed as regulated entertainment even if the profit is for
A film screening in community premises such as a school hall
between the hours of 8am and 11pm which is not for profit (even if
an admission fee is charged to cover costs) does not need a
premises licence. You may charge for additional activities such as
refreshments or film talks with a view to making a profit, as long
as these are kept distinct from admission to the film itself.
You will also need a premises licence if you plan to sell
alcohol at your event. Contact your local authority to arrange a
Can anyone help us set up a film club at the school?
The charity Into Film 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.
Members of Into Film will still need to check they are covered
by the right licences.
When might a licence NOT be required at a school?
Films may be used as part of the curriculum during lesson times
without the need for licensing. In all other instances, if the PTA
does not obtain the required licence they risk infringing
Where can I read more about film licences?
For further information, go to The Independent Cinema Office.
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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