Is your church planning to host a movie night this summer? There are legal implications that you need to know about. Fortunately, they are not very confusing.
- Almost all movies require churches to obtain permission for showing them on church property.
- Most movies are covered under a CVLI license.
- Pricing for CVLI licenses is based on the size of your congregation.
- Some movies not covered by CVLI require that you buy a separate license just for that movie from its publisher. Visit the website for the movie to see if a licensing option is available.
The NC Conference Media Center has movies, documentaries, and bible documentaries available for borrowing. However, your church must check to make sure that the movie is covered under your CVLI license before showing it anywhere on church property.
Alternatively, you can show these movies at small group meetings in someone’s home. You do not need a license to show DVDs at a personal residence.
Some short Christian films and documentaries are intended to be used in church or educational settings and do not require a public performance license.
Visit our Copyright Laws page for answers to your questions about:
- Showing video clips at church
- The religious service exemption
- The educational institution exemption
- The fair use doctrine
- Copying print books
- Copying VHS tapes onto DVD
Webinar: How Churches Can Utilize Licensing
This 45-minute video goes in depth on the why behind copyrights and offers practical and affordable solutions for your church.
Article: Showing YouTube Videos in Church
Find out why you still need permission to show YouTube videos at church.
*The author of this page is not a lawyer. This page is intended as a helpful guide. Please seek legal counsel to be sure that you are following the law.