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Do I need to obtain a license to show a movie?

generally, showing a movie outdoors in a location other than your backyard will require a license. The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17, United States code, Public Law 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be utilized publicly. Neither the rental nor the purchase or lending of a videocassette or DVD carries with it the right to exhibit such a movie publicly outside the home, unless the site where the video is used is properly licensed for copyright compliant exhibition.

This legal copyright compliance requirement applies to parks and recreation departments, colleges, universities, public schools, day care facilities, summer camps, churches, private clubs, prisons, lodges, businesses, etc. regardless of whether admission is charged, whether the institution is commercial or non-profit or whether a federal, state or local agency is involved.

The movie studios who own copyrights, and their agents, are the only parties who are authorized to license sites such as parks and recreation departments, businesses, museums, etc. No other group or person has the right to exhibit or license exhibitions of copyrighted movies.

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