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Public Performance Movie Licenses

In 2010 and 2011, Movie Licensing USA again offered discounts to Washington public libraries. The following is a letter from the MLUSA Copyright Licensing Manager for public libraries in Washington State:

15% Washington State Library discount!

MOVIE LICENSING USA (MLUSA) – Mention that you are a WASHINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY in your correspondence with your MLUSA Copyright Licensing Manager. Libraries should contact Movie Licensing USA directly for individual price quotes.

Discounts will be applied to MLUSA’s current pricing structure and the current active card holder count for each interested library. 

The cost of the license is based on the number of active card holders served by the library. Active means the number of patrons who have used their library card within the last year (or recent 12 month period). If you are able to provide this number, I would be happy to provide you with a cost quotation that includes your 15% Washington State Library discount!

** The cost of the license is locked in for the length of time a library has a license with us. If the new pricing is better for currently licensed libraries, we will adjust their cost at renewal!**

This discount offer is valid from 7/18/11 - 7/17/12.

Please contact John Hill at Movie Licensing USA.

This is the link to the Movie Licensing USA website with additional information:

Link to a more detailed letter, with a list of represented movie studios, and other information: 2011 15% Movie Licensing Discount Offer Letter.

Thank you for your time.

John C. Hill
Copyright Licensing Manager
Movie Licensing USA
888 267 2658
[email protected]


In 2006, the Washington State Library Statewide Database Licensing staff worked with two movie licensing companies to provide special one-time discounted offers for licensing public performance rights for motion pictures to the public libraries in Washington. Over 100 public library building locations subscribed to one or both of the available licenses, taking advantage of substantially reduced prices.

MPLC continued to offer discounted group purchase pricing each year through 2009, but not beyond. The original Movie Licensing USA offer was only made for one year, 2006. Those special offers are now closed, and the rest of this page is maintained here to document the history and success of this program.

Swank Motion Pictures, Movie Licensing USA’s parent company, does have a program for colleges and universities. And public performance site licenses are available to K-12 schools from Movie Licensing USA. Contact the companies directly (contact info is provided below), or visit their web sites (linked below) for additional information.

More information about Movie Licensing USA                                                                  

More information about  MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Corporation

General Information about Public Performance Site Licenses

A Public Performance Site License gives libraries the opportunity to enhance programming by showing movies legally. Libraries can show motion pictures from their own collection, or from any movie rental store as part of summer reading, books-to-movies, senior programs, educational programs and much more.

The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code, Public Law 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be used. Neither the rental nor the purchase of a movie carries with it the right to show the movie publicly outside the home, unless the site where the movie is used is properly licensed for public exhibition.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its member companies are dedicated to stopping film and video piracy in all its forms, including unauthorized public performances. To avoid embarrassing publicity and fines, it is important to comply with U.S. Copyright law when showing movies publicly. One way to accomplish that is to purchase a public performance license.

It is worth noting that under the terms of these licenses, libraries cannot advertise movie titles, names of actors or directors, etc. to the general public. Such specific advertising must be limited to locations inside the library building or distributed to current library card holders only. It is possible to advertise to the general public using more general language. See Movie Licensing USA’s "Guidelines for Advertising" below for examples.

The Washington State Library worked with two movie licensing companies to provide discounted public performance licenses to public libraries.

Movie Licensing USA

Movie Licensing USA contact information:

John C. Hill
Copyright Licensing Manager
[email protected]

Movie Licensing USA is a division of Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. They have served as the non-theatrical distributor for the major motion picture studios for 70 years. Movie Licensing USA provides access to movies from over 90% of the major Hollywood Studios including Disney, Miramax, Warner Bros, Paramount, DreamWorks, Universal, MGM/UA and more.

Normally, license fees for public libraries are based on the number of active library card holders. An active card holder is defined as one who has used the library at least once in the past year. Under this special offer, libraries could license as many buildings as they wished for a flat rate. The actual rate was determined by the number of library buildings that were included statewide.

All new licenses were for one year, and had an effective start date of October 1, 2006. Libraries with existing licenses received the new pricing starting when their current license expired. Subsequent renewals were to be at the same price, but if a library dropped out, they would not be able to obtain this special pricing should they wish to rejoin later.

Additional information from Movie Licensing USA:

The deadline for this offer was September 1, 2006. The actual licensing was between the library and the vendor. The State Library’s role was limited to promoting this offer, and collating the list of participating libraries and branches for the vendor.

MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Corporation)

MPLC contact information:

Eileen Korte
MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Corporation)
Licensing Representative
[email protected]
(800) 462-8855 ext. 3006

The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) created the Umbrella License in response to the growing demand for public video programming. An MPLC license eliminates the nuisance of contacting studios and distributors to request clearance for their titles. With an Umbrella License public libraries have a low-cost alternative to programming on a title-by-title basis while receiving unlimited use for one low annual fee.

For locations that have not yet taken advantage of public performance licensing, the MPLC Umbrella License is a versatile and cost-effective introduction to video programming. For libraries well-versed in public performance rights, the MPLC Umbrella License is an affordable and diverse supplement.

The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation provides exclusive representation for Sony Pictures Classics ("Capote"), and Twentieth Century Fox ("The Sound of Music" and "The King and I"), in addition to specialty children’s producers, including Scholastic Entertainment ("The Magic School Bus"), award-winning documentaries from Think Films ("Favela Rising" and "Born Into Brothels"), and vintage television programming from Classic Media ("Little Golden Books" series). For a complete list of studios covered by the MPLC license, see the attached MPLC brochure.

Additional information from MPLC:

In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Corporation) offerred public libraries in Washington the opportunity to purchase public performance site licenses for motion pictures. Additional information:

For questions about these offers, or for other information about Statewide Database Licensing through the Washington State Library, please contact:

Will Stuivenga
Cooperative Projects Manager
e-mail: [email protected]
phone: 360.704.5217
toll free: 866.538.4996
fax: 360.586.7575

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