Many PTAs hold movie nights at their schools, not knowing that use of copyrighted materialsÂ outside of the privacy of a home setting has been a copyright law violation since 1970. MovieÂ studios have had a royalty compliance procedure in place for many years. Most major studiosÂ have made copyright compliance less expensive and simpler by appointing a licensing agentÂ to help with copyright enforcement.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is dedicated to preventing film and
video piracy in all its forms, including illegal downloading, and unauthorized public
performances. The MPAA and its member companies can go to court to ensure copyrights are
not violated, and fines can be imposed upon violators.
Unless the school itself has a license from an agency, the PTA cannot borrow movies from a
public library, bring movies from home, or rent movies from a video store to show at school.
Ownership of a movie and the right to use it publicly are two separate issues. The copyright
holder retains exclusive public performance rights. Video stores cannot provide legal
permission for showing movies outside the home. Also, public libraries cannot pass on
copyright compliance to anyone. Only the licensing agency or the movie studios themselves
can do so.
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