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FAQs: film licensing

The use of film offers the chance to entertain, fundraise and engage the community. Filmbank Distributors represents the copyright interests of many of the major Hollywood, Bollywood and Independent film studios for screenings outside the home or cinema. This is what you need to know...

Do we really need a licence to run a film event?

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 licence do we need?

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 local community. 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 event.

Are there any other licences we need?

You will need a PRS for Music licence to cover the soundtrack, however if the venue where you are holding your event already has this licence, your organisation will be covered.

Most film events are still licensable as 'regulated entertainment', so if the venue in which you are holding your event does not have a premises licence, a Temporary Event Notice will be required.

However, 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 film licensing cost?

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.

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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