Showing Movies in the Library

Q. There's a community group that wants to show a movie to its members in one of the meeting rooms at the library. Is this legal?

Libraries which allow groups to use or rent their public meeting rooms should, as part of their agreement, require the group to warrant that it will secure all necessary performance licenses and indemnify the library for any failure on their part to do so.
Check to see if the group has secured Public Performance Rights to show the movie, which are available from such companies as the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation and Movie Licensing USA.
If you still need clarification, please do not hesitate to contact Carrie Russell of the ALA Washington Office at (800) 941-8478 or via e-mail



Movie Licensing USA ( provides single event and annual site licenses for public display of films in libraries.

This library has a movie license, though some organizations that use its meeting room do not.  After reading this Q & A, I called Movie Licensing USA to clarify and was advised that their license covers the library site.  Thus anyone showing a film on this site would be covered by the library’s license and need not have one of his/her/their own.  Movie Licensing USA’s brochure reads, "Now that you have obtained a Public Performance Site License, you and organizations using your facility can enjoy unlimited public exhibitions…."

If neither the library nor the organization using the room had a movie license, then there would be copyright issues around public performance.