Secure licensing to show movies TV in dental office

Offering television and movies can be a great way to relax and entertain patients in your office. As many pediatric dentists and orthodontists will attest, a little ambiance goes a long way in alleviating anxiety and creating a more positive experience for everyone. Toys and books in a waiting area or an underwater seascape in a treatment room are just a few creative ways to transform an office.

These days, you are as likely to find televisions or monitors in reception or waiting areas as you are magazines. Televisions are even making their way into treatment rooms. If a practice shows or would like to show television programs or movies to enhance the patient experience, it is essential that the dentist and dental team members understand their copyright obligations.

The U.S. Copyright Act, Title 17 of the United States Code, gives copyright owners control over the public exhibition of their works. In nearly all cases, this means that a public performance license is required to show copyrighted content in public. Dental and medical offices are considered public spaces when it comes to copyright law. This legal requirement applies whether or not an admission fee is charged, and even if the content can only be viewed by a single patient.

"Many dentists are familiar with copyright licensing requirements for music,” said Scott Fowkes, ADA general counsel. “Like music licensing, this requirement for a public performance license applies to public showings of movies, TV programs, and other audiovisual content enjoyed from sources like broadcast, cable, or satellite television; DVDs; downloads; or streaming services. Failure to comply with the copyright act constitutes copyright infringement and can result in liability for damages ranging from $750 to $150,000 for each illegal exhibition, plus court costs and attorney fees.”

Ultimately, by showing television and movies without a license, dentists risk significant fines for copyright infringement. For even the casual infringer, the monetary repercussions can be significant. Office staff may not consider copyright law before showing copyright protected audiovisual content or considering programming choices. When it comes to infringement, it does not matter who pushes play.

To increase awareness of this important issue, Motion Picture Licensing Corporation works to educate dentists about copyright compliance and provide an affordable public performance licensing solution. For several years, ADA has worked with MPLC to provide a discount for its members on copyright licensing. As a result of ADA efforts, member practices can secure an annual Umbrella License® for only $349 per location, per year. By comparison, nonmembers pay $429.

MPLC is exclusively authorized by motion picture studios and other copyright owners to grant the Umbrella License for the public performance of copyrighted television, movies and other audiovisual content. MPLC issues the license your practice needs to show copyrighted content in compliance with federal copyright law.

The Umbrella License allows for unlimited exhibitions at your dental office with the assurance of copyright compliance. It provides coverage for old and new titles from more than 1,000 motion picture and television rights holders, including Disney, CBS, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, Paramount, ABC, Televisa, HGTV, Lionsgate, Discovery and many more. Once licensed, dentists can obtain content on their own entertainment? from the source of their choice without the need to report times, dates, or titles shown.

The goal of copyright law is to protect creativity. To that end, fees from every Umbrella License are shared with MPLC rights holders, to support the next generation of movies and television. These productions employ thousands of people behind the camera, including writers, set designers, camera operators, and make-up artists, to name a few. Moreover, many of these productions film on location across the United States, providing an important economic boost to local businesses and communities.

The ADA encourages its members to comply with federal copyright law. To secure an Umbrella License, visit or contact MPLC at 866-552-MPLC (6752) or You may also contact the ADA Legal Division with any additional questions about the need for public performance licensing in dental practices. Information is also available at

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