I'd like to start a movie night at a local winery. Can I show a documentary on their projector screen if I don't charge any admission/viewing fee?
Generally, for public performance of a movie covered by a copyright still in force, one typically would at least, need to obtain a public performance license.
The below link may be helpful.
You should discuss with an intellectual property attorney in a private consultation.
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Not without a license, no. It doesn't matter that you're not charging a separate fee for the film, this is still a "public performance."
See your own IP lawyer for help.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments.
As previously mentioned, you will almost certainly need a license for any showing that takes place at a public venue and/or that includes persons other than your immediate family and friends.
In cases like these, your exposure may be somewhat limited, but you are rolling the dice. I recently settled a lawsuit for a client who showed a pay-per-view fight at his little restaurant without the proper license. No fun.
Contact an experienced attorney in your local area and get educated before you make a costly mistake.
This answer is not intended to be legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. All information posted is for educational purposes only and may not be applicable to any specific person or situation.
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