Movie Copyright Compliance in Senior Living Homes

This article is intended to educate and clarify for you what the law says about “Copyright Compliance” regarding Video, DVD, Computer Streaming, or Movie exhibitions in Senior Living Homes.

License Required!

Does your Senior Retirement/Assisted Living/Nursing Home Facility offer “Movie Night”, or closed circuit TV showings, or in-house TV channel movies? They may be required to have a license for public performance of these movies. This is to ensure compliance with the U.S. Copyright Act, Title 17. These licenses are issued by the MPLC, an independent copyright licensing agency.  The motion picture studios and producers have authorized the MPLC to grant these annual licenses to senior living communities. It is called the Umbrella License®, and as of 2012, costs about $12.00 for closed circuit use (for each connection) and $6.00 for common area use (for each independent living unit).

Movie Night in the Activity Room!

More facilities are using in-house channels and closed circuit TV systems to enhance communication with residents, notify them of events, weather, and activities, with ability to transmit movies via a computer or DVD player.  The question comes up as to who is required to purchase the Umbrella License® and who is exempt?  Do they need this license even if they are just showing movies on a rented screen for a special Movie Night Event, or if residents are showing their own videos on a big screen in the facility lounge or activity room?

Some Exclusions!

There are certain EXCLUSIONS to this licensing mandate, but each facility needs to know exactly what the requirements for the exclusions are. Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities are exempt UNLESS they also have independent living apartments/units available, whether or not they are located in the same building, on the same campus or in a different building.

 Do WE need an Umbrella License®?

In conclusion, if a nursing home or assisted living home DOES NOT also offer independent living options available in any form, then they are not required to buy the “Umbrella License®” before they can show or stream movies in group situations or through their individual facility TV systems.  But, since most care facilities offer different levels of Care Living options, these hones would be required to purchase this annual license to be compliant with current copyright laws.

By: Judy Maloney RN

Sources: www.leadingage.org, www.nccap.org

One thought on “Movie Copyright Compliance in Senior Living Homes

  1. Great blog post! Question I am thinking of starting a business where I host movie nights and activities for residents at nursing homes/hospitals that don’t have any events. I would only charge the facility for the services and not residents. Do I still need a license? Where would I go to learn more? Thanks and hope you’re having a great day!

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