Information On The Legal Use Of Film At Schools (for entertainment purposes)

Under South African copyright law, viewing a film outside of the home for entertainment purposes, is regarded as a “public screening” requiring permission from the Copyright owner in the specific territory, South Africa in the form of a public performance license. The use of films on school campuses, for purposes other than for educational purposes, regardless of venue and audience size, require such permission from the copyright holders for each film screened.

Since the recent introduction of the MPLC Umbrella License® to South Africa by the Motion Picture Licensing Company, hundreds of schools across the country – private and public - have taken advantage of this simple copyright solution and legal peace of mind to ensure film remains an integral part of every pupil's extramural activities and free time relaxation. These schools continue to enjoy the magic and power of movies in so many ways, including:

• film adaptations of books and plays
• free time relaxation
• film clubs and ad hoc screenings via digital projectors, laptops and computers
• generating revenue through movie fundraisers
• movie nights to bring pupils and families together

MPLC Umbrella License®

Prior to the introduction of the MPLC Umbrella License®, it was exceptionally time consuming and cumbersome for schools to locate individual copyright holders to obtain permission timeously, each time for each film to be screened for any or all of the above purposes. To overcome these problems and facilitate easy legal access for the public screening of films for entertainment purposes, use by film clubs or fundraising, over 800 of the world’s top producers and distributors from across the world, including the major Hollywood studios and independent film/TV producers, authorized the MPLC to provide simple copyright solutions and legal peace of mind in more than 20 countries, across five continents, making MPLC the world leader in public film copyright compliance.

Unlimited Use of Films with Legal Peace of Mind

The MPLC Umbrella License® gives school administrators legal peace of mind by removing the risk of civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution, by granting the entire campus, its pupils, teachers, parents and visitors, a public performance license for unlimited screenings of legally obtained films, whether rented or privately owned, without the need to report which titles are being screened, how often they were screened, how or where they were screened, or how many people attended.

For questions about our producers, obtaining permission in the form of the license, or any information regarding screening of films in public for entertainment purposes, use by film clubs or 

fundraising, please contact the MPLC at (021) 465-6449 or email Liesl Ernst at or visit The application process is simple and the turnaround time to legal compliance is immediate and affordable.

For questions or further information on use of films for educational/teaching purposes, kindly refer to Section 12 and Section 16 of the Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 (as amended) – see: