Does our church need a license to show a movie at my church?

09.02.15 | Administration & Operations | by Christie Latona

    It’s becoming more common. Churches host special event movie nights. Pastors use movies to enhance sermon points. Sunday School teachers and childcare workers often use Videos to educate and entertain the kids. Youth leaders show the latest Videos. Educators use movies to train and inspire. But all of these church workers may be, unknowingly, breaking the law.

    Most of us probably ignore that copyright warning at the beginning of the movie. But it’s there to remind people of the importance of abiding by the copyright law. Pre-recorded motion pictures and other audiovisual works (including DVDs, Blu-Rays, and online streaming and digital downloads) are authorized for personal, private use only. Special permission must be granted for any public performance—and that includes churches. The Federal Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that violations can result in substantial fines, up to $150,000 per infringement.

    Now, there’s an affordable, convenient solution. Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc. (CCLI) and Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) have partnered to create Christian Video Licensing International (CVLI) and the Church Video License, which offers blanket copyright coverage for titles from more than 1,000 producers.

    Visit The Church Video License website for more information.