Movie Night? Be Sure Your Club has the Proper Licenses

Movie Night? Be Sure Your Club has the Proper Licenses

Apr 01, 2018

Article

Author, Club Director, Spring 2018

Copyright law of the United States, Title 17 of the United States Code (17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq.), governs how copyrighted materials may be publicly displayed. Specifically, the public performance of a Hollywood-produced movie at a club is subject to the control of the owner of the copyright in the audiovisual work (i.e., the movie), and generally requires the club to obtain a license.

The issue of when and how a club can show movies to its members is one that often arises. A common misunderstanding is that a private club, not generally open to the public, does not have to obtain a license to show a movie to its members. Another popular mistaken belief is that if a club does not charge a direct admission fee to view the movie, then no license is required. However, these misconceptions are generally not true.

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