Showing Movies at Camp? Know the Licensing Laws

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Movies are an easy, affordable way to entertain campers of all ages. Whether it’s an outdoor movie under the stars, a dive-in film on the beach, or simply a rainy afternoon, movies are a popular way to supplement camp activities.

ACA reminds camps that a public performance license is required when movies, TV programs, and other content intended for personal, private use only, is shown at camp. Since 1986, MPLC has issued the Umbrella License®, a simple and affordable way to show movies at your camp with the assurance of comprehensive copyright compliance.

Best of all, ACA members receive a discount on the Umbrella License. 

Umbrella License Duration ACA Members Nonmembers
3 Months (Summer Only) $245 $310
6 Months $340 $420
9 Months $450 $540
Year $545 $585

To secure an Umbrella License for your camp, simply complete the Umbrella License Application. If your camp is one of the many that already holds an Umbrella License, you need not reapply. Your license automatically renews each year at the ACA member rate.

The Umbrella License provides coverage for nearly 750 rightsholders ranging from major Hollywood studios like Disney and Warner Bros. to independent, children’s, and specialty producers. The license protects camps from copyright infringement whether guests or staff press show movies.

According to the U.S. Copyright Act, Title 17 of the United States Code, the public exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures and other audiovisual programs that are intended for personal, private use only, via any legal format, including but not limited to DVDs, streaming, and downloads, is illegal without a public performance license. Simply put, showing movies in public requires a public performance license. This requirement applies equally to for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Civil penalties for unauthorized exhibitions start at $750 for each inadvertent infringement and go as high as $150,000 for each egregious violation.

ACA has partnered with MPLC to make camp movie night simple, affordable, and legal. If you currently show movies or plan to this season, please be sure to complete the Umbrella License application, and return it to MPLC. Upon receipt, your Certificate of License will be sent via US Mail and you can immediately begin showing movies!

If you have questions, please contact either the American Camp Association at (765) 342-8456, or MPLC at (800) 462-8855 or mplc.com.

Resources

  • Also interested in music licensing? ACA Members receive a discount through ASCAP.

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