Q. When is a licence required to show a Cinematographic work in public?

A. According to the Canadian Copyright Act, any public performance of a cinematographic work requires permission from the copyright owner. This is true, regardless of whether or not admission fees are being charged. The only exemptions that exist apply to the education market (K-12 Schools as well as Colleges and Universities) with regards to face-to-face curriculum teaching purposes.

Can a School show a movie on a rainy day or as a fundraiser under the Educational exemption in the Copyright Modernization Act?

A. No, schools can only use cinematographic works for in-classroom curriculum purposes. Screenings outside of this parameter require public performance rights.

How much does a licence through Criterion Pictures cost?

A. Cost depends on a variety of factors such as location, size of the organization and/or number of patrons, movies release date, number of titles selected, for profit vs not-for-profit and which licence you subscribe to.

What types of Licensing options does Criterion Pictures’ offer?
Title-by-title bookings. This is used when a client only requires the rights for a specific title for a one-time screening.
Annual Home Release Licence includes movies that have been released to the home DVD market.

Annual Home and Pre-Release Licence includes movies in advance of home DVD date plus movies available to the home market.

Criterion-on-Demand includes either option 2 or 3 PLUS access to Criterion’s online digital delivery platform designed specifically for the non-theatrical market.

What does a Criterion Pictures’ Licence include?

A. Criterion Pictures’ Licences include the necessary public performance rights to screen a film publicly in the non-theatrical market. The non-theatrical market refers to all publicly performed exhibition of feature films shown in educational institutions, correctional facilities, libraries, museums, government institutions, community centres, recreational facilities, hospitals and other health-care facilities, common areas of apartments, condominiums, dormitories and other residential communities, outdoor screenings, retirement centres, camps, religious institutions, bars and restaurants, hotels, buses and other transportation services and more…

Which Studios do Criterion Pictures represent:

A. Criterion represents Warner Brothers, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Studios, Paramount Pictures, CBS, Fox TV, Warner TV, Entertainment One, Elevation Pictures, Mongrel Media, Pacific Northwest Pictures, Vortex Films, Game Theory Films, National Geographic as well as a variety of smaller independent Producers.


If we purchase a public performance licence, can our Institution charge admission fees?

A. Yes, we do allow customers to charge admission and recoup some of their costs or use our films for fundraising purposes. Pricing is based on a minimum fee or a percentage of the box office, whichever is the greater.

Does Criterion Pictures supply DVDs to its customers?

A. Yes, Criterion has an inventory of DVDs its customers can access. Customers can also access their own copies, either purchased, borrowed or rented, provided that it is a legally obtained copy.

What other formats does Criterion Pictures supply?

A. Criterion primarily provides content the following formats:

  • DVD
  • DCP
  • Blu-ray
  • Criterion-on-Demand (Digital Delivery platform)

Why are Public Performance Rights necessary?

A. Public Performance fees are collected and then a portion of them is forwarded to Studios/Producers in order to ensure that artists, performers, and production crews are adequately compensated for their work.

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