*** DEBUG END ***

Blu-Rays on the silver screen

20 May 2016

We run a community cinema out of our community hall, and have done so now for the past two years with great success, funded by the National Lottery and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. We show films, on average, twice a month. We have a PVSL licence and a CCLI licence, and all films are covered under one or other of these for public viewing of shop-bought DVDs and Blu-Rays. We put in our first year’s list of movies for the PVSL licence last April, and all was well. I wonder why you said “You cannot show DVDs released for home-viewing in your community centre” (24 March)?

I HAVE reviewed my source of information, and, of course, it is possible to obtain the right licences and so be able to show films in your premises. You must not, however, do so without a licence. My source is Managing your Community Building, by Peter Hudson (Community Matters, 2000). Do you have a local-authority licence for showing films? An appropriate licence may be obtained from your local district or borough council, with a fee chargeable for a one-year licence.

For up to six days of film per year, a simpler “permission” is required. Additional conditions will apply to do with films with children in attendance. Home videos and DVDs include permission for showing on a television at home, and cannot be hired for use in a community centre, as the regulations do not cover making the film available to the public.

In Managing Your Community Building, Hudson says: “‘Domestic’ does not even extend to a private members club, whether or not there is a charge for admission” — even for charitable purposes.

Check the full legal considerations on licensing of premises and the actual film, copyright, and other special conditions. Your local authority could be a good starting point, because it issues its particular licence.

In summary, you may not need a licence if you do all of the following:

  • do not charge or make a gain from the event;
  • the show is private and there is not a private gain;
  • the premises are not used for more than six film shows per year. But you should give seven days’ notice in writing to the local authority, the fire services and police;
  • you have a Home Office exemption certificate;
  • you are film society that allows only its members to attend performances.

Given all that, I have leaned heavily on Hudson’s book for guidance. I know that the older laws for cinemas and film-shows were exceptionally difficult, because of the fire-risks, people being seated in the dark, and so on.

I am sure that some readers know more, and will probably contact me; I am interested in a reliable source of advice on how to get set up for film shows, safely and legally.

Send your information, issues, and questions to maggiedurran@virginmedia.com.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear below your letter unless requested otherwise.

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM: 

Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Church Times/Canterbury Press:

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

Early bird tickets available



The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)