public performance licenseTwo of the biggest questions and worries we get from our customers:

  1. Do I need to get a public performance license?
  2. Will you (Super Size Screens) obtain the public performance license for our event?

And the above questions are very good questions. Most people who violate copyright laws have no idea they are doing so. Awareness of the laws can keep you out of any trouble you might have gotten yourself into.

Copyright laws can be very confusing at times as well as obtaining the proper licenses for your event.

So we’re going to explain everything you need to know here on this page so you’ll know whether or not you’ll need a public performance license for your event.


Here’s the definition of public performance license:

A public performance is one that occurs “in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.” A public performance also occurs when the performance is transmitted by means of any device or process (for example, via broadcast, telephone wire, or other means) to the public. In order to perform a copyrighted work publicly, the user must obtain performance rights from the copyright owner or his representative.

So as long as you’re on private property that you own and everyone is within your normal family circle and social acquaintances, you do not need a public performance license for your event.

Super Size Screens Does Not Require You To Get A License

We want you to know that we are not the entity or organization that requires you to obtain a public performance license.

The federal copyright laws are responsible for the requirement of a public performance license.

We do not profit in any way, shape, or form from any licenses.

The people who own the movie or material you are showing in “public” require that you pay them for showing their property to others in public.

When you purchase a movie, that gives you the right to view the movie privately with your family and friends. It does not give you the right to show the movie in public. If you’re charging admission or showing a movie in public, you 100% need to get the proper license.

Remember, Super Size Screens does not require you to get a license. The federal law requires a license. We are only providing the equipment that allows you to show a movie or other material.

So the responsibility and decision to obtain a public performance license is on you or your organization. If you choose not to, that is your choice and it could come with a severe penalty for violating copyright laws.

Super Size Screens Does Not Police Licenses

Super Size Screens does not police the obtainment of proper licensing. We do not check on licensing. We simply provide a service to you.

We do not have the education, authority, knowledge, or expertise to police the proper use of public performance licenses. We leave that to the authorities and the people who have been trained to do so.

Please follow the law and pay the proper fees for a public performance of property owned by someone else. That’s all you will hear from us about a public performance license. Remember, we do not check or police the obtainment of this license as that is not our responsibility.

We highly recommend you obtain the proper licensing but we do not check, police, or enforce licensing.

YES! We Will Do Most of the Work in Getting Your Public Performance License

We work with the licensing agencies for you, if requested by you. All you have to do is ask and we can help you obtain the license.

It’s not difficult. We’ll do the work for you. It’s pretty much just a call, a payment, and waiting for the media to arrive. That’s it.

The license will be in your name because it is required by law to be in your name.

The licensing agency will not allow us to put the license in our name. It’s against the law to do so.

We’ll help you along the way and make sure everything is in place if you need a public performance license.

Remember, a public performance license is required to show anything outside your home in public. Even if at your home, you may be required to get a license if you’re showing the material to the public.

If you are showing any content to the public, need a license even if you are not charging admission.

What’s Considered a Public Performance?

If you are watching a movie, game, or anything in your own home or on your property with family and friends, you do not need a public performance license.

With that said…

If you open up your yard to everyone in your neighborhood, you have just changed your private event in your home to a public event.

If that happens and someone who works for a licensing agency is around, you could be held in violation of the law. Licensing agencies take violations seriously because, in their view, you are stealing from people who worked hard to produce and create the movie or other content.

Many of those people who worked on those movies were not paid huge amounts as we sometimes only think of the movie stars. Some people who worked on the movie you are watching are living day-to-day and struggling like the many others out there. They depend on the license fees to feed their family and pay for their home.

So be safe, be smart, and get the proper licensing to protect you from any serious copyright violations. Yes, you could take a chance but it’s not worth the worry.

There are some exemptions and better ways to protect yourself from violating any copyright laws… we will explain:

Schools, Churches, Non-Profits, and Other Organizations

All organizations are required to obtain public performance licenses if they are showing the movie in public for non-educational purposes.

There is an exemption if the movie is being used for educational purposes as explained below:

  • A teacher or instructor must be present for the movie.
  • Only enrolled students attend in a classroom setting.
  • The movie being used must be a legitimate purchased copy.
  • The movie being used must be a part of the curriculum being taught.

If your school or organization meets all of the above guidelines for your specific event, you do not need a public performance license.

Your Options for Protecting Yourself From Copyright Violations

You have a few different options here.

1) Obtain the public performance license from one of the two major companies that represent the film industry:

Swank Motion Pictures
Criterion Pictures USA

Each of the above represent different film companies so the one you’ll want to contact depends on the movie you want to watch.

If you’re not sure about the movie you want to watch, you can choose one of the two companies above and see what movies they have to offer for your event.

The cost of the license depends on the movie title, the number of people at your event, and whether or not you are charging admission. We cannot give you an estimate of the cost but we can obtain a quote from one of the companies above for you if you would like. Or, you can contact them yourself if you are curious.

2) Obtain an Umbrella License from the Motion Picture Licensing Company

This is one of our favorite options because some of you might be covered already without the need to obtain another license.

If you work for a larger organization (example: school system), you might already be covered. Since some organizations routinely show movies, they may have already obtained the proper licensing. Check with your company or organization to see if they have something called an Umbrella License.

You can learn more about obtaining an Umbrella License here:

Motion Picture Licensing Corporation

We highly recommend Umbrella Licenses due to their affordability compared to the film companies. The Motion Picture Licensing Company can answer any questions you might have and can probably even tell you if your organization is already covered or not.

For example… an Umbrella License can cover you for an entire year for much less than one public performance license from the film companies.

If you are planning on charging an admission fee for your movie, then an umbrella license will not cover you. You must obtain a public performance license from the company above who represents the film company who owns the rights to the movie you select.

No Matter What You Decide, We’re Here to Help

If you have any questions, please let us know. We will inform you that a public performance license may be needed for your event and we’ll help you obtain that license if you would like.

Remember that the public performance license is your responsibility but we will assist and help you obtain the license.

All you have to do is let us know that you need help, and we can help.

You need to plan ahead if you are looking to obtain a license as it does take some time to get the license.

Give us a call if you have any questions or require assistance. That’s why we’re here.

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