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TOPIC: Can we show TV programs?

Can we show TV programs? 02 Jun 2006 12:14 #25103

  • Cinemateer
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What are the license issues with showing a TV program in a theater, if any? I would like to show programs like the Oscars, season premieres/finalies, sports events, etc. with an admission price. Is there anything stopping this? I've seen other exhibitors hold Oscar parties.

I apologize if this topic has been discussed. I searched the archives for "TV" and came up empty.

[This message has been edited by Cinemateer (edited June 02, 2006).]
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 02 Jun 2006 12:42 #25104

  • jimor
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The problem is much the same as with showing films: COPYRIGHT. You would have to find the current owner of a show and bargain for rights --if they will rent a show at all. The Museum of Television and Radio ( www.mtr.org ) will probably let you view shows you are interested in and tell you whom to contact for permissions. If they are of no help, contact the Copyrights Clearance Office of the Library of Congress at: www.loc.gov

Note that MANY shows are tangeled in overlaping copyrights of the producers and the various artists who own copyrights in a work, so just locating the studio or producer may not give you full legal rights even if they do agree. The famous film "It's A Wonderful Life" was shown for years by everyone since the producer and director had not renewed the copyright, until a lawyer for the music writer's copyright brought suit upon the networks showing it. Now that title is no longer generally available as it once was, and likely the Networks had to quietly pay bundles while they scolded everyone else for duping their programs or buying bogus DVDs. It can be a legal quagmire!

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited June 02, 2006).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 02 Jun 2006 16:29 #25105

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If you're only looking at one or two specialized presentations, you might look into whether the producers have a method for licensing what you're interested in.

If you're looking at something more regular, companies like Dish Network have commercial licensing programs that will let you do what you're talking about (check their web sites). It's a program that many sports bars buy into, as it's the presentation of sporting events that they're using to lure people in for a brewski... or ten.
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 02 Jun 2006 19:26 #25106

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Rodeo, that is a fabulous idea! However, according to their commercial website...

"In no event shall the owner of any commercial establishment charge an admission fee for listening or viewing of any service(s) provided by the Dish Network."

Bummer. I guess the sports bars don't charge admission, they just make money selling you the ten brewski's. If a theater had a liquor license, you could do the same thing, but I doubt you could make enough selling only concessions.

Excellent idea though. There must be something similar out there that would work.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 03 Jun 2006 09:12 #25107

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It can be done. I know of a cinema in Michigan that shows Red Wings / Pistons games and big events like the Super Bowl on their 35 foot screen. They don't "charge" for the TV show, but they do charge a $10 fee for a reserved "party pass" that guarentees your seat and gets you food and drink. And by drink, I mean alcohol. I saw "Saving Private Ryan" at this theater, and 3 guys a few rows ahead of me were pretty tanked, cheering loudly everytime a Nazi got killed. They left midway through the movie and came back with more drinks!
http://www.cinemahollywood.com/events.htm

[This message has been edited by theBigE (edited June 03, 2006).]
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 03 Jun 2006 09:27 #25108

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Big E, maybe the answer is in the symantics then. But to me, a "party pass" that reserves you a seat is the same as an admission fee, is it not? I guess it comes down to the definition of an admission fee. I'd hate to have to explain the difference to the networks if they ever found out though.

I know other theaters have "A Night at the Oscars" where they show the Oscars in the theater and charge an admission fee, but I don't know how they get away with it either. Maybe they just figure they won't get caught and throw caution to the wind. I'm really looking for a more acceptable (and legal) angle.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 03 Jun 2006 13:48 #25109

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Cinemateer, if you check the link I gave you, they state that there is no admission fee for programs that are shown on free TV. However, there is also no reserve seating, unless you purchase the "party pass." They've been doing it awhile, and advertise it freely, so either they haven't been caught or no one cares! You'll also notice they broadcast PPV wrestling matches.
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 03 Jun 2006 15:14 #25110

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Big E, Yes, I did check them out and I can understand them offering to watch TV programs for free, but if they purchase a Party Pass, aren't they essentially paying for a seat since one will be reserved for them? Whether it's called a Party Pass, admission fee, or whatever, they are still paying for a seat. I think you're right; they just haven't been caught yet.
)
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Can we show TV programs? 30 Nov 2011 11:05 #37508

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Dish Network "Has" a performance (ie: Commercial) subscription rate.
..
You have to remember that the person you talk to when you call Dish Network may not actually be Dish Network. They outsource most of their consumer sales and marketing.
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You have to deal with Dish Network Reseller or Commercial Licensing/Subscriptions.
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But - the actual answer is "yes", But Dish Network is a fickle beast. And when you deal with such an organization you must already know who to talk to.
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I personally don't deal with DISH anymore, so any contacts that I new back in the 1980's is probably history...
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But I know it can be done.
...
Dave
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Can we show TV programs? 03 Jul 2013 00:41 #40114

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This thread is a little old, but, from the research I've done -

If you are a bar, restaurant, doctors office, ANYWHERE where people will see TV publicly, you need to have a commercial package with the satellite or cable providers. If you sell food or alcohol you need a public TV package. This allows you to show stuff on TV in a public place, with no admission charge, however there are restrictions.

There is a law - US Code Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 110, "Limitations on exclusive rights: exemption of certain performances and displays," - which states that you can't show a broadcast on a screen larger than 55 inches, no more than 4 screens in the establishment, and no more than 1 in each room. There also can't be more than 6 speakers total, and no more than 4 in one room.

Now, nearly every bar or restaurant I've ever been in violates this law, so clearly it's not enforced, however, the NFL came after a casino a few years ago for using big screens for the Superbowl, and several churches. It has since promised not to go after churches. They also get really sticky about you using their trademark in advertisements, so you'll see a lot of bars advertise "the big game".

The Oscars have sanctioned viewing parties to benefit non-profits across the country (I think there are 50 or so of them) where admission is actually charged. Otherwise it seems they are pretty lenient about Oscar parties that don't charge admission. The reason the food packages are permissible is that you could still go and watch for free without purchasing one.

There are plenty examples of small theaters that show sporting events and awards shows, and plenty of bars who have screens as big as mine and brag about it, so I say go for it until someone tells you not to. Sell buckets of beer, nachos and pizza to make a little money.
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Can we show TV programs? 16 Jul 2013 01:47 #40152

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Rather than post the question here, why not go find a theatre that actually does this. With the proliferation of 21+ auditoriums around the country, it shouldn't be too hard to find.

From talking with a couple of them, informally, my understanding is that you can show these events in your theatre, so long as you DO NOT CHARGE ADMISSION to see them.

Of course, once you have the audience in your building, you can sell them all the food and alcohol you want. Apparently, that's how this works. The commercial video package from your provider may also apply. Again... ask someone who's actually doing this and you may be less likely to run afoul of the copyright nazis.
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Can we show TV programs? 16 Jul 2013 02:27 #40153

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Lots of theaters do things that aren't legal or right. Unless, as the Angelika Film Centers have done, you can wrangle a license for a TV show, you can't show TV shows or sporting events in your theaters.
Bob
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Can we show TV programs? 18 Jul 2013 01:28 #40159

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Yeah... well, it probably wouldn't be wise to encourage illegal activities on a public forum.
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Can we show TV programs? 04 Aug 2013 22:13 #40175

If you don't charge admission, you can show the event. I'm trying to figure out how to set up my screen for TV. I'm still using an old Simplex projector but want to do some of these activities.
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Can we show TV programs? 22 Aug 2013 14:08 #40252

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Where are you located, "Capitol"?
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