MPLC Movie Licence for Care Homes

As described here is the 1st in the list of Valued Care Solutions weekly blogs highlighting an area or issue I have encountered during my working week.

And the honour of the 1st blog goes to The Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC)  and a care homes need for having a licence to show DVD’s and downloads of films which have been bought or rented for the homes use as detailed within the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This came about following a recent visit to a care home who asked the question to myself

“Do we need to have this licence? as we only ever show films in a communal lounge and its their home after all”.

Simple answer to this one was YES however as with everything that you are certain of you have that little feeling deep in the recesses of your brain that says

“Are you sure, I mean really sure”

So I contacted the very helpful MPLC who where more than happy to assist and give their confirmation of the need for all care and nursing homes to have a licence to show films within the communal areas giving me the following FAQ information:

Q: Is a communal lounge area in a care home not a domestic, home environment?

A: No. There are a number of factors that dictate that a screening of a film in a care or nursing home is a public screening for the purposes of the Act and include:

  • Residents normally do not have a domestic or private relationship with each other. They do not live in the same residence because they are part of the same family or have private ties.
  • Residents are in the scheme independently from each other. Each resident is there as an individual member of the public to benefit from services offered by the scheme.
  • Residents pay for their accommodation and included within the price are various benefits offered by the scheme, which include communal activities that are available, such as the screening of film. Showing a film in a communal lounge of a scheme is an additional activity offered at the scheme.
  • Generally the audience in the communal lounge comprise of people who may not normally choose to watch film together.
  • Generally the size of the audience would be much larger than a normal domestic situation.

Whilst I was speaking to the MPLC I also asked about what would it mean for a care home if they decided to ignore the licence and carry on their practice and the answer was very interesting indeed:

Q: What are the penalties for screening films without the licence?

A: The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act in §107 prescribes damages for infringement of copyright that may subject you to substantial fines and penalties, including criminal penalties of up to a £5,000 fine and/or up to six months imprisonment. In addition, Section 97(2) of the act allows the court to consider the flagrancy of the infringement and any benefit, in order to award additional damages.

So do you as a manager, your activities coordinator or any of your staff use DVD’s and downloads of films as part of the residents activities programme in your home?

If the answer is yes then I would suggest a quick telephone call  or email to the MPLC to support your home and ensure you are compliant with the law:

Q: How can I contact MPLC?


t: 01323 432163


Thank you for taking the time to read the 1st in this series of weekly blogs and I would finally like to thank David Taylor from MPLC for the use of information and links contained within this blog.

Take care till the next blog!




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