Guide to Public Use and Group Showings
This web page is designed to help you understand the copyright law of the public use license and the showing of Christian movies in a public setting.
Almost all movies are licensed for home use only, therefore, to show these films in a public setting, an additional public use license is required. People often ask why? The reason is simple: Films cost money to produce and filmmakers need sources of income in order to make their money back.
Here is a general rule to consider, if you can back the message, then support the filmmaker. Income from public showings is helping that filmmaker continue in his work.
For the first 50 years of the Christian film industry, it survived from churches and groups renting and showing films, mainly in the congregation. But, in the 1990's, as a result of the impact of home video, the rental of films virtually came to a complete halt. In the mid 2000's, interest perked with some churches recognizing the power of films and a few of them starting to show them again. This trend has continued an upward swing but is far from the number of churches who used to show films back in the 70's and 80's.
The public showing of movies by churches is helpful for two main reasons. First, Hollywood movies have saturated the land and influenced our culture greatly. Therefore, movies shown in congregations with a message for Jesus can be very effective. Secondly, there is a great lack of Christ-centered films and one of the reasons is lack of funding to produce new films. A Hollywood film has the box office in theaters to gain income. Most Christian movies don't play in theaters and therefore a public rental helps the producer gain back costs from production.
On our website, we have listed with each film the information needed for public use showings. Most of the movies require a fee either directly from the producer or to an organization called CVLI. Please note that if your church has the CVLI license, it does not cover all films. On the contrary, it does not cover very many of the films we distribute on this website. CVLI is not a blanket license for all Christian movies.
If you have any further questions regarding this, please feel free to contact us.