Media Licencing

Durham Students’ Union has a comprehensive licence with ‘The Motion Picture Licensing Company’ (MPLC) to cover most licencing needs, in relation to public showings of films, and other production materials.

This page outlines the extent to which you will be covered. Please read carefully and follow all guidance given.

There is a budget of up to £60 available for each Give it a Go session.

The MPLC is the leading provider in motion picture copyright compliance. They support legal access across five continents in more than 20 countries, and they represent over 400+ film and TV producers and distributors from major Hollywood studios to independent and foreign producers.


Rules of the licence

  • This is a non-commercial licence. You cannot charge admission nor advertise titles to the general public; the licence covers only those situations where admission is not charged.
  • If you are showing an educational film, you still require a licence, as an educational exemption exists, but it is very narrowly defined and applies to curriculum uses only.
  • Charities are not exempt from owning a licence; a licence is required even if you are a charitable group.
  • Even if you own the DVD, you will still need a licence to view or show it in public, as the location requires a licence regardless of who owns the audio-visual work. While you may own the actual DVD, you are only granted the right to view it in your home, not to show it in public.
  • Even if the guests are limited to members-only, any location outside of the home is considered public for copyright purposes and requires a licence. Our licence only covers showings in University buildings.

What you need to do

Are you planning on charging people to watch your showing of a film?

If the answer is yes, then you are not covered by the licence held by the union, you are required to purchase a separate licence. You can do this through companies such as MPLC or Filmbank.

If you are not charging then continue reading this advice:

  • Check who the producer/distributor of your film is, by using one BBFC or IMDb.
  • Now check here that this producer/distributor is covered by the Union’s licence.
  • If you are planning on showing a film that is not covered by this licence then we advise that you make contact with the distributor/producer directly. This may be the case for small independent arts, cultural & educational films etc. If you fail to contact these companies before showing the film, you assume responsibility for this and the Union will not be held responsible.