Music Copyright by Steve Wille from CEFM

In music there are 2 sets of copyright

The licenses held by your school are for the Public Performance of music. This is essentially singing or playing of pre-recorded music out loud.

Some activities covered by these 2 licenses are:

Some activities that are NOT covered by these 2 licenses are:

Some activities that could be covered with additional licensing:

Film Copyright

The public performance of Films for entertainment requires a Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL).

The licence allows the unlimited public performance of films purchased or rented films from legitimate UK outlets. This means under the licence you could show films owned by students/staff or even rented from video renting shops.

This licence only allows the showing of films to students and staff of the school. Parents are not members of the school even if their children are pupils there.

PVSL represents film distributors and allows the showing of any films from their repertoire.

The following is a current list of film distributors involved in the PVSL but it is worth regularly checking on as more distributors are still joining.

Warner Bros Entertainment Film Distributors
Sony Pictures Buena Vista International (Disney, Pixar)
MGM United Artists
Miramax Optimum Releasing
Path? Granada Rank Catalogue
Universal Pictures Dreamworks
Paramount 20th Century Fox

The licence allows the showing of films within schools as:

The licence does NOT allow:

If you wish to show films for fundraising or for people that are not part of the licensed premises you can obtain a "Single Title licence" direct from Filmbank on 0207 984 5923.

Legal Background to Copyright licences operated by CEFM

All use of music or films on schools' premises constitutes public performance but certain activities are exempt under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) section 34

Performing, playing or showing work in the course of activities of educational establishment

(1) The performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work before an audience consisting of teachers and pupils at an educational establishment and other persons directly connected with the activities of the establishment:
(a) by a teacher or pupil in the course of the activities of the establishment, or
(b) at the establishment by any person for the purposes of instruction, is not a public performance for the purposes of infringement of copyright.

(2) The playing or showing of a sound recording, film, broadcast or cable programme before such an audience at an educational establishment for the purposes of instruction is not a playing or showing of the work in public for the purposes of infringement of copyright.

(3) A person is not for this purpose directly connected with the activities of the educational establishment simply because he is the parent of a pupil at the establishment.

Charging is never an issue

Contrary to popular belief the fee for the use of copyrighted material is NOT negated by the fact that the audience does not pay for listening/viewing of the music or film.

Overview of public performance

When you purchase a CD or DVD you purchase a certain amount of copyright with it and that is the right to listen or watch them in your own domestic circle. When you take this into a school and allow a group of people/students to watch/listen to the recording, then this is a public performance. Pupils at a school are members of the public outside of the exemption above.


CEFM operate a helpline service for schools offering guidance on all music and film copyright issues. Please contact us if you require any guidance on the scope and coverage of the three licensing schemes we manage.

PRS Helpline 01494 473014 or email

PPL Helpline 01494 836233 or email

PVSL Helpline 01494 836231 or email

A helpful guide to copyright can be found at and provides a good overview of licensing requirements