The Dentist Magazine.

Do you need a Motion Picture Licence?

Published: 05/12/2017

You may face court action if you are in breach of the copyright laws. 

It has been brought to CODE's attention that a number of dental practices are finding themselves in breach of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, simply because they are using televisions without the correct licence.

While you probably have a standard TV licence already, these only cover private use. As a dental practice is classed as a public space, it is important to have a separate licence in place because showing television programmes or films – either via the TV, DVD, or internet – in a public environment is classified as broadcasting.

This means that along with your normal TV licence, and your PRS and PPL licences that are required to broadcast music in your dental practice, you also require another licence to use a television in your dental practice. These are easily obtainable from the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) at a cost of £76 plus VAT from www.themplc.co.uk.

Exclusions

An MPLC licence is not required for news, music channels, or sports, including BT Sport and Sky Sports. It is also not required if you only use your television to display your own slide shows or promotional videos that you own the copyright for.

If you choose to use your television only for these purposes, it is important to have a policy that outlines your intent and the procedures you have in place to restrict the use of other channels. All staff will need to be informed of this, as the simple act of watching a television programme during a lunch break will put the practice in breach of the law. 

What happens if you do not have a licence?

If you have chosen to only use your television for purposes that do not require a licence, ensure you have a policy in place that outlines this, and a procedure that backs up the policy. CODE will be adding a template to the iComply application in due course, in the interim create your own policy which:

  • Covers that your television will only be used for:

                  - Slide shows, videos, or other in-house content that you own the copyright for
                  - News channels
                  - Music channels
                  - Sports channels

  • Include the measures that you will take to ensure your team understands what channels can be used, such as team training during a practice meeting

  • Outline how often you will assess your broadcasting needs 

  • Include your new Motion Picture Licensing Policy in your policy folder and take steps to inform all new starters of your practice rules regarding television use

If a dental practice is found to be using their television for purposes that require an MPLC licence, but does not have one in place, they may face legal proceedings. As a consequence of this, a court can order the dental practice to pay its outstanding licence fees plus legal costs.

To purchase your MPLC licence, please visit www.themplc.co.uk.

To discover more about the iComply application, visit www.icomply.cc.