Copies of a film sold or rented to the public are for home use only and intended solely for the enjoyment of a person, his/her family and guests in a home
setting. Virtually all other exhibitions of a film constitute a public performance under the Copyright Act.
That means that films on videotape or DVD, cable or satellite are protected under the Copyright Act. Section 42(2) creates a criminal offence where the
public performance is for private profit. Because of the large investment required to produce a motion picture, copyright in films is vigorously enforced against those who do not obtain the required licences. This illegal activity affects non-theatrical distributors and video retailers as well as the copyright owners.
Penalties For Copyright Infringement
Section 42 of the Copyright Act provides that a person found guilty of copyright infringement is subject on summary conviction to a maximum fine of
$25,000.00 or six months inprisonment or to both, or on indictment to a maximum fine of $1 million or to imprisonment for up to 5 years or to both. This
activity also constitutes a civil infringement.
operate a summer camp for children and screen videocassettes for "movie
nights" as a camp activity. The films are available from a video rental
in my community. Am I breaking the law?
A. Yes. The owner of the copyright in a film has the exclusive right to perform or show the film publicly. Unlicenced screenings of a movie constitute illegal
don't use films on video as I pick-up movies with my satellite dish in
my tavern. Is this legal?
A. No. Showing these movies in a tavern, restaurant or other establishment open to the public constitutes a public performance for which a licence is required.
The technical ability to receive the movie by a satellite dish or cable box does not give you the legal right to show it to the public in your commercial
operate a motel and show movies to my guests either with a satellite
or VCR to play back pre-recorded movies, but I do not charge any fee
this service. Do I still need a licence from the copyright owner?
have bought a number of film classics and my child's school teacher
to show the movies to the class. Is this permitted?
operate a video retail store and occasionally I rent videos of films to
school teachers who show them to students in classrooms. Am I doing
I operate a tour bus which is equipped with a VCR and television
Usually videos of motion picture films for which public performance
have been obtained are shown to the passengers during long distance
However, passengers sometimes bring their own videos and insist on
them during trips. Is this legal?
Are there any restrictions on these licences?
How To Obtain A Public Performance LicenceObtaining a public performance licence is relatively easy and usually requires no more than a phone call. If you have any doubt about your screening, ask an authorized distributor about licencing .
Criterion Pictures Audio Cine Films Inc. (ACF) (800) 565-1996 (Ontario) (514) 493-8887 (800) 663-0991 (Western Provinces) (800) 289-8887 (Canada-wide) (800) 361-2788 (Quebec & Atlantic Provinces) www.acf-film.com www.criterionpic.com