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With all the activity within your senior living or health care community, residents and staff may not give a second thought to something as simple as showing a movie. “It’s just for residents,” some might say. “We’re not charging admission.” It seems simple enough, but maybe you remember the FBI warning at the beginning of the movie? The one we all too often fast forward through? Have you ever considered how copyright law applies when movies are shown within your community? Probably not, but you should.

Surprisingly, some staff and residents are unaware that the intended use of copyrighted motion pictures and other audiovisual programs is for personal, private use only. Motion picture showings held within communal areas on the property require a public performance license to comply with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Act.

You may already hear residents asking, “What…We can’t watch a movie?” Rest assured that watching movies in an individual room with family and friends does not require a license. However, exhibitions in communal areas such as a community room, theater, or lounge, as well as via closed circuit transmission, are by law considered “public” and require a public performance license.

To make licensing simple and affordable, Argentum and all other leading industry associations negotiated an agreement with Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) for member savings on MPLC’s Umbrella License®, the most comprehensive copyright license available for senior living and health care communities. The license provides unprecedented access to content from over 1,000 motion picture rightsholders, ranging from major Hollywood and independent studios to faith-based and foreign language producers.

Once licensed, an unlimited number of movies may be shown. Movies can be secured from any legal source whether rented, purchased, or borrowed via DVD, stream, or download. However, unlicensed exhibitions may subject your community to substantial fines for copyright infringement. If your community currently shows movies, please secure the required license to ensure copyright compliance.

As Argentum has advised in the past, the 2016 Agreement establishes guidelines for the licensing of motion picture exhibitions in all senior living and health care communities. The Agreement states that:

Please contact MPLC directly at (800) 462-8855 or online at for assistance with pricing or to ask any questions about the Umbrella License.

Please feel free to contact Argentum at (703) 894-1805 with any questions about motion picture licensing requirements within our industry.


Closed Circuit Transmission: Any senior community or health care facility, regardless of its type or license status, which has a closed circuit television system (such as an in-house channel) playing motion pictures or other audiovisual programs shall obtain an Umbrella License at the annual rate of $13.70 per connection. Any other non-closed circuit performances shall be included at no additional cost.

Common Area Pricing
A. Facilities that have independent living units, apartments, or other similarly defined living quarters, whether freestanding or located in a nursing facility, rehabilitation facility, assisted living facility, continuing care retirement community, or any other type of senior living facility, regardless of how each state defines the facility (“ILU”) shall be subject to the following annual rates, based on the licensed ILU capacity for each facility:

B. Facilities defined as low income senior housing that have a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) contract shall pay a reduced license fee, based on the licensed HUD capacity for each facility:

C. Facilities that are freestanding nursing, rehabilitation or assisted living; or have such sleeping units/sleeping rooms within a continuing care retirement community, or any other type of senior living or health care facility (excluding ILU and HUD units, see A and B for pricing) shall be subject to the following annual rates based on licensed capacity for each facility:

Adult Day Service Centers:  If any association member operates a freestanding adult day service center, there is a separate annual license fee of $220.00 per center. If any association member that operates an adult day service center within its senior community or health care facility, and obtains a license for their facility, there is a separate annual license fee of $105.00 per center.

Download the MPLC Umbrella License Application Brochure

MPLC has partnered with Argentum and other senior living and health care associations, and negotiated an agreement that offers discounted Umbrella License coverage to membership.

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