Everybody needs a little sunshine. Camps provide an opportunity for guests of all ages to connect with the natural environment, recharge, and create lasting memories. While there’s nothing quite like stories by the campfire, camps aren’t quite technology-free. Maybe you have a clubhouse or lodge with a television, a projector, or even cable or satellite service. These tools can be a great way to supplement or enhance outdoor activities.

  • Hang a sheet, grab your projector, and create an outdoor cinema under the stars.
  • When rain or high temperatures spoil outdoor plans, cool down campers with an indoor matinee.
  • If your property includes a body of water, consider the possibilities for “dive in” or “flick n’ float” screenings.

There are so many ways that camps can leverage the occasional movie or TV series for supplemental guest entertainment. Yet, these amenities come with copyright requirements.

If your camp or conference center has a license to play music, you may be familiar with the concept of “public performance.” Like music, movies and TV are originally intended for personal, private use only and require a license when shown in public. This provision of the US Copyright Act applies to public exhibitions of movies, TV, and other audiovisual content enjoyed via sources like broadcast, cable, satellite television, DVD, Blu-ray, download, or streaming platforms.

Copyright law may be an area that gets little attention, but failure to comply can result in serious financial consequences, ranging from $750 to $150,000 for each illegal exhibition, plus court costs and attorney fees. These can really add up. For example, a defendant in one case was required to pay $36,000 in damages and over $160,000 in attorney’s fees and costs for playing unlicensed music.

That said, different public performance licensing solutions are available to protect your camp from copyright infringement for any planned or unplanned exhibitions that may occur. An annual license can cost as little as a few hundred dollars.

It’s also important to consider that incidental and guest exhibitions may also require a license. Groups renting your facility may utilize equipment to play copyrighted material. For example, simply watching broadcast television in a common area may constitute a public performance.

Rather than preventing use, secure a public performance license for your camp and begin enhancing programs and delighting guests with creative activities that are copyright compliant.

To learn more about public performance licensing for your camp, visit mplc.com.

For more than 15 years, Eileen Korte has helped organizations large and small understand the importance of copyright compliance and explore the creative ways in which they can use movies and TV to entertain, educate, and delight audiences. As VP, Global Sales Development & Marketing, Eileen is passionate about intellectual property and supporting the creative community through her work at MPLC.

This blog post is provided by the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation.

Periodically, the American Camp Association (ACA) makes timely and relevant information about products and services available to its members so they can make informed decisions for their camps. However, the ACA does not endorse products, services, or companies.