Helping Protect Film Rights: MPLC’s role in supporting the creative movie community
Motion pictures and other audiovisual programs have long been a great way to entertain and educate. But many people are often not aware that unless you’re viewing them for personal, private use, legal authorisation is needed to avoid copyright infringement. Starting in 1987 in the US, and 2003 Internationally, MPLC has offered a legal way for movies to be screened to the public. MPLC now operates in 34 countries worldwide, representing over 1000 Producers, issuing 150,000 licenses annually. The MPLC Umbrella License grants organizations permission to show legally obtained audiovisual programs without the need to report titles, dates or times of exhibition.
Why does MPLC care about anti-piracy and copyright law? Because our very business was created to uphold the federal Copyright Act. However, rather than rely on the penalties laid down in law, the MPLC approach is one of ‘education’. We want our customers to respect the reasons for obtaining a license and value the entertainment they are providing. And of course, that translates into long term repeat customers – 97% of all licenses sold are renewed annually. We work closely with Governments and Intellectual Property Offices worldwide to ensure the law is not diluted, and the Movie industry continues to receive income from public exhibition to continue to make first class product the world enjoys.
In many ways, MPLC is at the forefront of IP education, supporting all the various anti-piracy activities undertaken by the studios and the MPAA (Motion Picture Assocation of America). MPLC not only issues licenses to those showing films publicly (who have often been showing films illegally before) but we also insist – and check – that the original product being shown is legal as well.
Non-Theatrical Public Performance Licensing is our business. It involves coordinating numerous dedicated staff across all continents, ensuring we provide the best possible professional service for our Producers. It involves knowing local laws. It involves good data, identifying users of movies in the public arena.
Above all, it involves good partnerships with the Studios, Trade Associations, a wide variety of Customers and multiple enforcement agencies.
It’s a complex business, but Non-Theatrical Public Performance Licensing is our business and we are proud to be doing it for our Producers.