You need a ‘non-theatrical’ film licence to show films and TV programmes in public (but not in a cinema), eg:
- at one-off events
- at film clubs - whether or not you sell tickets
- in common areas for guests, residents and passengers
- in retail and entertainment venues
The one exception is curriculum-based screenings in state schools, where you don’t need your own licence.
The type of licence you need depends on how you’ll use the films - see the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) guidance. Contact the ICO if you need more help.
You could be sued for damages if you show a film under copyright in public without being licensed. This includes DVD, Blu-Ray and video formats.
Where to get your licence
You can get licences (eg annual or one-off) from companies like:
These companies represent different film studios so you’ll need to make sure they cover the films you want.
A film may also be available direct from distributors such as the British Film Institute (BFI) or the copyright owner. Search the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) register to find a distributor.