Is MPLC Legitimate?

MPLC is recommended by the UK government as the leading provider of licences for organisations that want to show TV programmes or films in public while staying on the right side of the law. MPLC:

  • Helps a wide range of organisations, both large and small, legally display audiovisual content in public. This includes major corporations as well as major  government bodies like the UK Department for Education and East Sussex County Council. 
  • Has been in business for more than 30 years and operates in over 40 countries.
  • Represents more than 1,000 TV and film rights’ holders, from major studios to small, independent producers. 


Why do I need an MPLC licence? 

Did you know you could be breaking the law if you show content on a TV or a screen in public without an MPLC Licence? That’s because you can only legally view most content on a personal basis, typically at home. Show audiovisual content in public - even if you’re not charging a fee - and it’s considered a public performance. Which, legally, means you need a public performance licence. 

This is all because of UK copyright law. When audiovisual content is created, the studios who produce the content own the copyright for public performances. This applies whether the content is shown via broadcast, cable or satellite TV, DVD, Blu Ray, download or internet streaming.

However, as the UK government notes, people who own the copyright of audiovisual materials can choose to licence their work so it can be shown in public: “This covers performing, showing or playing a work in public … [including] … showing films in public.” The same also applies to TV shows.

The UK government’s Intellectual Property Office website states: “If you would like to use copyright material, you usually need to get permission from the rights’ holder to do so. Sometimes this can be obtained directly from the rights’ holder, but more often it is granted in the form of a licence from a licensing body. A licensing body is a broad term used to describe any organisation which offers licences for the use of copyright work.”

MPLC is the UK’s leading audiovisual licensing body. We provide the unique MPLC Umbrella Licence which enables organisations to legally show a range of TV programmes and films in public from more than 1,000 rights’ holders. As long as the broadcast isn’t advertised to the public and there’s no admission fee, the MPLC Umbrella Licence provides a range of benefits including:

  • An low annual fee based on the type and size of organisation or location.
  • No reporting requirements for titles, dates or times of performances.
  • Access to any legal audiovisual content intended for personal, private use. 


What is the benefit of an MPLC licence? 

The MPLC Umbrella Licence protects organisations from showing audiovisual content illegally, while supporting more than 1,000 copyright holders with royalties. 

This includes major media companies like Disney, Discovery and ITV Studios, Universal, MGM and Paramount Pictures together with many small independent studios and TV producers.

Securing these fees means studios can invest more money in the creation of new content. Which creates jobs for everyone from makeup artists and lighting technicians to location managers and editors.


Which businesses should get an MPLC licence? 

Any business or organisation with a TV or screen should have a conversation with MPLC to see whether they need an MPLC licence. This list is not exhaustive but the types of organisations that typically need a licence include:

  • Any business or organisation with a TV in the waiting room.
  • Corporate receptions and conference centres.
  • Pubs, hotels and bars.
  • Gyms and health clubs.
  • Government and public buildings including libraries.
  • Churches and other religious organisations. 
  • Dentists, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
  • Residential apartments and organisations.

An MPLC Umbrella Licence covers the most common viewing that takes place in these organisations. 

What about schools?

Most state schools in England are covered by a licence bought centrally by the Department for Education. However nurseries, schools, colleges and universities in Scotland, Wales and NI and private schools in the UK should speak with MPLC to understand whether they need a licence.


MPLC licence - is it a scam?

No, the MPLC licence is not a scam. MPLC is a legitimate business that’s recognised by the UK government as an authorised licensing organisation. MPLC is also a member of:

MPLC also works with some of the most prestigious trade associations in the country. Like UK Active, British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), UK Hospitality and the National Association of English Language Centres - English UK. 


Is MPLC a legitimate business?

MPLC is a legitimate business with strong credentials that’s well regarded by the creative sector, government bodies and trade standards organisations. Paying for an MPLC licence is important not only because it protects your organisation from legal repercussions, but because it helps support the creative community. Which means the industry can produce more of the amazing content we all enjoy.  


Any Questions?

Not sure whether your organisation needs an MPLC licence? Get in touch with our licencing team today for expert advice and guidance.


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