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Is MPLC legitimate?

MPLC is the leading provider of licenses for organizations that want to show TV programming or movies in public while staying on the right side of the law. Included on a US Copyright Office list of authorized licensing providers, MPLC:

  • Helps a wide range of organizations, both large and small, legally display audiovisual content in public. This includes major corporations as well as government facilities like the US State Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and even FBI field offices. 
  • Has been in business for more than 30 years and operates in over 40 countries.
  • Represents more than 1,000 TV and film rights’ holders, from major studios to small, independent producers. 

Why do I need an MPLC license? 

Did you know that you could be breaking the law if you show content on a TV or a screen in public without MPLC’s Umbrella License? That’s because you can only legally view most content on a personal basis, typically at home. Show audiovisual content in public – even if you’re not charging a fee – and it’s considered a public performance. Which, legally, means you need a public performance license. 

This is all because of US copyright law. When audiovisual content is created, the studios who produce the content own the copyright for public performances. This applies whether the content is shown via broadcast, cable or satellite TV, DVD, Blu Ray, download or Internet streaming.

However, as the US government notes: “The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and, in the case of certain works, publicly perform or display the work … or to license others to engage in the same acts under specific terms and conditions.” 

In line with Senate Report No. 94-473, page 59; House Report No.94-1476, page 62, organizations, including not-for-profit and nonprofit institutions, must secure a license to show copyrighted works. Regardless of whether an admission fee is charged. 

MPLC is the leading provider of audiovisual blanket licenses in the United States. MPLC’s Umbrella License enables organizations to legally show TV programing and movies from more than 1,000 rights’ holders in public. As long as there’s no admission fee and any promotion falls within MPLC’s guidelines, the MPLC Umbrella License is perfect. It provides a range of benefits including:

  • A low annual fee.
  • Unlimited performances.
  • No reporting requirements for titles, dates or times of performances.
  • Convenient–access from any legal audiovisual content intended for personal, private use. 

What is the benefit of  MPLC’s Umbrella  License? 

MPLC’s Umbrella License protects organizations from inadvertently showing audiovisual content illegally, while supporting more than 1,000 copyright holders with royalties. 

This includes major media companies like Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, NBC Universal, CBS and Paramount Pictures. The license fee also helps hundreds of smaller studios.

Securing these fees means studios can invest more money in the creation of new content. Which creates jobs for everyone from makeup artists and lighting technicians to location managers and editors.

Which businesses should get  MPLC’s Umbrella License? 

Any business or organization with a TV or screen should have a conversation with MPLC to see whether they need an MPLC license. This list is not exhaustive but the types of organizations that typically need a license include:

  • Any business or organization with a TV or screen in any common areas like waiting rooms and lounges.
  • Apartments and master planned communities.
  • Associations and industry conferences.
  • Automobile dealerships.
  • Camps and conference centers.
  • Bars and restaurants.
  • Hotel lobbies and bars.
  • Campgrounds and RV parks.
  • Childcare centers, pre-schools, schools, colleges and universities.
  • Churches and other religious organizations. 
  • Dentists, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
  • Gyms and health clubs.
  • Government and public buildings including libraries.
  • Parks and recreation facilities.

An MPLC Umbrella License covers the most common viewing that takes place in these organizations. 

MPLC license – is it a scam?

No, the MPLC license is not a scam. MPLC is a legitimate business that’s recognized by the US Copyright Office as an authorized licensing organization. MPLC also works with some of the most prestigious trade associations around the country. Like the National Restaurant Association and the American Dental Association.

Is MPLC a legitimate business?

MPLC is a legitimate business with strong credentials that’s well regarded by the creative sector, government bodies and trade associations. Paying for an MPLC license is important, not only because it protects your organization from legal repercussions, but because it helps support the creative community. Which means the industry can produce more of the amazing content we all enjoy.  

Here’s what a few MPLC clients have to say about our services: 

“At Cookie Cutters, we cater to children and it’s essential that our salons feel warm and friendly. MPLC has helped us create a fun, entertaining experience for kids. Our business wouldn’t be the same without the Umbrella License. In every Cookie Cutters salon you’ll find TV shows and movies that kids love. MPLC helps us do that legally.”

Neal Courtney, CEO Cookie Cutters

“Once we reviewed MPLC’s license, we were really impressed with the incredible value. It covers almost every movie under the sun, for a very reasonable annual fee.”

Darren Ross, CEO of the company that operates LA’s iconic Magic Castle

“It feels great to know we’re doing the right thing and it helps support the various artists and content creators.”

Brain Hsu, Tony Group Autoplex, Hawaii

What Happens If I Don’t Get a License?

Fail to get a license and you could face costly litigation and fines. Some copyright organizations will perform investigations unannounced. In one recent example related to music, ASCAP sued a facility in Iowa it caught playing “That’s Life” as part of a karaoke event. BMI recently brought a lawsuit for more than a million dollars against a facility that played “Conga” and a number of other songs by Miami Sound Machine. Courts tend to award the most severe fines against businesses that have been made aware of their obligations and have chosen to ignore them. 

Any Questions?

Not sure whether your organization needs an MPLC license? Get in touch with our licensing team today on 1-866-552-MPLC (6752) for expert advice and guidance.