TapVideo Night

When we reviewed the copyright licences for the church to cover the reproduction and projection or songs and music, we also obtained a Video Licence, because we thought it might be useful. And so it has turned out, with clips and short features being used, not regularly, but fairly often during services. Many, like charity promotions, would be royalty free, but others most certainly would not. Similar material has also been used for the Sunday school and youth meetings.

So, I have been asked, “why not have a Video Night?” An occasion, perhaps when some worthy but secular film could be shown as an opportunity for people to meet together and enjoy themselves. This got me looking at what the terms of the licence actually were.

It should be well known that video films purchased or rented are generally for personal home use only. You are not supposed to invite in all the neighbours to see the latest blockbuster, though if you had a party and it happened to be playing in the background there is not a lot anyone could do about it. What the Church Video Licence seems to do is to allow and formalise this situation with the payment of an inclusive royalty. You can show what you like*, when you like, so long as you: use original legal recordings (no copies of copies and no material recorded from TV)**; don’t charge for entrance; and don’t pre-announce what will be shown.

It is this last point that will tax the imagination of the organisers. To play fair with the privilege granted by the licence we should adhere to the spirit as well as the letter and, as such, it is more likely to work with the youth club or elderly people’s social (as it should) where they would be coming anyway, rather than an occasional general parish gathering. Although the possibility of a Film Club is mentioned in the information, I can’t see it working well in practice. The titles shown should be chosen by the organiser and not pre-announced, though suggestions could be invited from the members so, I suppose if you were following a themed program then it may be possible. Anyway, those are the rules and if you can work with them then go for it.

* There are actually a limited number of producers participating but it seems to cover most of them.

** This also means that you can’t edit them, so no censorship, though you can show an extract as a clip.

*** Note that you may also need a PRS licence to cover the music content of the films though the information is ambiguous. I think what it means is that you need the licence if the film is shown outside of a worship service.

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