X Close

Copyright Queries

Home

Menu

Film Clubs

ucylcjh1 August 2014

Once in a while a group of UCL students and/ or staff suggests starting a film club. Films could be shown on the premises, free of charge to people who choose to join the club, perhaps films with a departmental interest or popular feature films.

Great idea, but first there are the copyright and licensing hurdles. Among the acts restricted by copyright is the performance of works, including film, without permission of the copyright owners.

There is an exception for showing film for “the purposes of instruction” in Section 34 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This would not cover showing a film for entertainment or any other purpose outside the teaching context. It is clear that a film club would not be covered.

There is a licensing solution, the Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL) from Filmbank . As cost is based on numbers of people “with access to the licensed premises”, it would not be practical to obtain a UCL wide licence, but individual departments could and sometimes do apply. Filmbank can also licence one-off showings. You may also need a licence from PRS to cover playing the musical soundtracks.

The repertoire licensed by Filmbank covers a range of major film studios, listed on their web site. Many well known feature films would be covered. If your interests are more specialised Filmbank may not be very relevant. If the films are outside the repertoire you will be infringing copyright  even armed with your Filmbank licence. It may come down to seeking permission for each film.