Outreach Films Movie License FAQs

To learn about using films for minsitry, please read these articles and tips.

  1. What is considered a Public Performance?

  2. I own the DVD. Why do we need a License?

  3. Do I need a license even if we don’t charge admission?

  4. If I purchase a license to show a movie, can I show that movie anytime I want?

  5. I've already purchased a License for another film. Does that License cover any other films?

  6. Since I'm buying a License, can we charge admission?

  7. Can I use the Retail DVD if I purchase a license?

  8. Can we use clips from the film during our service? Can we show clips on our website?

  9. A small group or ministry in our church is hosting the movie, do we still need a license?

  10. What does a license cover? Are there limitations to the Public Performance Site License

  11. How do the licenses between Faith-based and Blockbuster movies differ?

  12. What are the differences between the packages on the Faith-based films?

  13. I want to show a movie outside the United States, can you provide me a license?

  14. I am a chaplain at a local prison, military base, school, business or hospital. Do I need a license?

  15. The cost is prohibitive to us. Is there a way to get it for less, or how can we recoup the cost?

  16. What if we didn't purchase a license and unknowingly showed the movie?

  17. We record our service, not for broadcast, but on DVD to be sold/provided for our congregation members, is that allowed?

What is considered a Public Performance?

Any exhibition of a movie outside the privacy of a home setting is considered a public performance. The rental, purchase lending, streaming or downloading of a movie does not grant the right to exhibit it publicly outside the home, unless the screening is properly licensed.

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I own the DVD. Why do we need a License?

It’s the law and it’s the right thing to do. The Federal Copyright Act governs how copyrighted materials such as movies may be utilized publicly. The law applies to everyone including non-profit institutions. Funds from licensing go to paying royalties to the authors, computer programmers, playwrights, musicians, inventors, movie producers, actors and other people involved in making the film. These people depend on royalties to make a living. Showing a film without a license is essentially stealing from the people who made the film. Click here to learn more about why you need a license

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Do I need a license even if we don’t charge admission?

Yes! A license is required for all public performances regardless of whether admission is charged or not. In fact your license states that you are not allowed to charge admission.

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If I purchase a license to show a movie, can I show that movie any time I want?

It depends on what movie you are showing and the type of license. Blockbuster Movie licenses are for a specific, designated time frame and only accommodate one event. Faith-based licenses allow you to show the film anytime you want and as many times as you want during the licensing period, usually for one-year.

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I've already purchased a License for another film. Does that License cover any other films?

No. The movies offered by Outreach Films are covered on a title-by-title basis, which means each movie requires its own annual license.

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Since I'm buying a License, can we charge admission?

No. You cannot charge for admission. The license only gives you permission to do a public showing of the Movie and marketing your event. However, there are a number of ways to recoup costs. (See ideas under "The Cost is Prohibitive to Us…")

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Can I use a retail version of the DVD if I purchase a License?

Yes. The License provides your church with permission to use a retail (home use only) DVD for your Movie Event. This is especially helpful if you need to use features not included on the Movie Event DVD such as additional language options, closed-captioning, or special features.

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Can we use clips from the film during our service? Can we show clips on our website?

No, you may not use clips from the film during your service or on your website, however you can show the trailer to promote your upcoming event.

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A small group or ministry in our church is hosting the movie, do we still need a license?

Yes! If the small group is meeting outside a home, a license must be obtained regardless of the number of people attending the event. For Blockbuster movies, you can purchase a license based on the expected number of people who will attend the movie event. Faith-based license pricing is based on average weekly church attendance, not the showing size, because the license is for unlimited showings for a full year from the date of purchase and allows you to show the film to multiple groups in your church.

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What does a license cover? Are there limitations to the Public Performance Site License?

It depends on what movie you are showing and the type of license.

  • Blockbuster Movie licenses are for a specific, designated time frame and license you to show the film one time.
  • Faith-based licenses allow you to show the film anytime you want and as many times as you want during the licensing period, usually for one-year from date of purchase.

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How do the licenses between Faith-based and Blockbuster movies differ?

Blockbuster Movie licenses are for a specific, designated time frame and only accommodate one event. Faith-based licenses allow you to show the film anytime you want and as many times as you want during the licensing period, usually for one-year from the date of purchase.

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What are the differences between the packages on the faith-based films?

Outreach Films provides three different types of movie license packages for Faith-based films:

  • Movie Event Package - Along with an annual public performance site license, this package includes a physical DVD of the movie along with other printed and digital resources you can use to promote your event and make it more successful. In some cases, the Movie Event Package also includes a complete Church Kit with sermons and sometimes small group curriculum along with other resources you can use to launch a series based on the themes of the movie. The detail page of the movie you select should outline what is included with each type of package.
  • Movie License - Along with an annual public performance site license, the Movie License provides you with a physical DVD of the movie and digital resources like web and social media graphics, a digital planning guide and discussion questions.
  • Digital Movie License - This is the perfect option when you already have a DVD of the movie you want to show. The Digital License does NOT include a DVD but provides you with annual public performance site license and digital resources like web and social media graphics, a digital planning guide and discussion questions.

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I want to show a movie outside the United States, can you provide me a license?

It depends on what movie you are showing and the type of license. For Blockbuster films, Outreach Films can only provide licensing in the United States. For Faith-based Films, each movie has different licensing options, please call 800-991-6011 to find out if international licenses are available for the title you want to show.

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I am a chaplain at a local prison, military base, school, business or hospital. Do I need a license?

Yes, you still need a license but the cost will depend on what movie you are showing and the type of license you need. Some Faith-based movies offer a special Chaplain's License, please call 800-991-6011 to order.

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The cost is prohibitive to us. Is there a way to get it for less, or how can we recoup the cost?

Some church networks and denominations have worked out discounts for their churches; check with those offices to find out if anything is available. Price is based on your average weekly church attendance to help make the license more affordable.

There are a number of ways to recoup any costs:

  1. If you need to ticket the event because of seating issues, list a "suggested donation" on the ticket (remember, you cannot require an admission price).
  2. Offer free admission, but sell concession tickets for popcorn and a drink, or a hot dog dinner.
  3. Collect a freewill offering or leave baskets at the doors to collect gifts. People are accustomed to paying to see a film, so giving a donation to cover costs would not be seen as unusual.
  4. Many churches simply ask the congregation to consider giving a special gift for the Movie Event above and beyond their regular giving. The cost of the License represents less than $1.00 per person in the typical church.
  5. Ask a local business to sponsor the event, give them placement on your promotional materials and do a short sponsorship "commercial" to thank them prior to showing the film.
  6. Purchase bulk DVDs and resell them at your event and use the proceeds to fund your event or future events.

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What if we didn't purchase a license and unknowingly showed the movie?

Any organization's public exhibition of a film without proper licensing is subject to steep and significant penalties through The Copyright Act (as much as $150,000 per exhibition). Even inadvertent infringers are subject to the Copyright Act. If your organization has unknowingly showed a movie while not in copyright compliance, contact us directly to remedy the matter 800-991-6011.

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We record our service, not for broadcast, but on DVD to be sold/provided for our congregation members, is that allowed?

No, you may not use clips from the film regardless of if the recorded media (DVD, tape, etc.) is sold or for free. The only exception is using the trailer to promote an upcoming event.

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