The Copyright Act permits teachers to play films to their students in class provided that it is for educational instruction.
See 'Performance and Communication of Works and Audio Visual Material in Class - What am I allowed to do?' for further information.
This exception does not cover schools playing films on bus excursions, camps and for rainy day activities at lunchtime. In these instances, the school is legally required to seek a licence from the Australian non-theatrical distributor of the film.
Where a school plays a film in any of these situations without a licence, the school and its administering body risk being sued for copyright infringement.
As a result, the schools sector has negotiated a licence with Roadshow Public Performance Licensing (‘Roadshow’) to allow schools to play films to students for non-educational purposes. This licence is known as the ‘Co-Curricular Licence’.
The Co-Curricular Licence
The Co-Curricular Licence is an optional licence. This means that the Licence will not apply automatically to all Australian schools. The Licence can be taken up in two ways:
1. On a central basis by an education department/administering body
This means that the Licence will cover all schools administered by the department/body.
At present, the following departments and administering bodies have entered into a central Licence with Roadshow:
- Department of Education and Training Australian Capital Territory
- Department of Education, Training and the Arts Queensland
- Department of Education and Training Northern Territory
- Department of Education Tasmania
- Department of Education Western Australia
- Catholic Education Commission for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn
- Catholic Education Commission New South Wales
- Catholic Education Commission Queensland
- Catholic Education Commission South Australia
- Catholic Education Office Western Australia
- Catholic Education Office Northern Territory
All schools which are administered by the above departments/bodies are already covered by the Co-Curricular Licence.
2. On an individual school basis
If your school is not covered by a central Licence scheme, your school can choose to take up the Co-Curricular Licence. This means that the Licence will apply to your school only.
An individual school can enter into the Co-Curricular Licence by:
- Going to www.roadshowppl.com.au
- Selecting ‘Schools’ from the drop down menu under 'My Business Activity'.
Inserting the following details:
- School name and contact details
- School ABN
- No. of students in the school
- Paying the annual fee as agreed to under the Licence.
The annual fee of the Co-Curricular Licence will vary between $50 and $175 depending on the number of students in your school.
Payment can be made online by credit card or by cheque/direct deposit.
Licence renewals for subsequent years will be automatically issued towards the end of the current licence year. The licence is not compulsory, however if you intend to maintain the licence then the invoice must be paid within the terms stated on the invoice. Unpaid invoices will be deemed as indicating that a licence is no longer required and shall be cancelled.
School size (FTEs)
Are there any reporting requirements once a school is covered by the Licence?
Once a school is covered by the Co-Curricular, either under a central Licence scheme or because it has taken up the Licence individually, there are no further reporting requirements. This means the school does not need to advise Roadshow of which films it has played to its students under the Co-Curricular Licence in the relevant year.
What does the Co-Curricular Licence cover?
Under the Co-Curricular Licence, your school is permitted to play films to teacher and students of the school and parents acting in a supervisory capacity for the following purposes:
- At school for entertainment purposes (e.g. at lunchtime on a rainy day)
- On bus excursions, where the school provides the DVD (not the bus company)
- At school camps and excursions, including outdoor screenings at camp, where the school provides the DVD (not the camp)
- At after-school care and holiday programs conducted at and by the school
When does the Co-Curricular Licence not apply?
The Co-Curricular Licence will not apply:
- Where the film is played to the general public
- To a fundraising event for the school
- To school and after school holiday programs conducted by a third party
- To an event which is advertised or promoted to people other than the students and staff of the school
- Where advertising or promotion occurs during the playing of a film
What films are covered by the Co-Curricular Licence?
A film will be covered by the Co-Curricular Licence where:
- It is a legitimate copy.
This means that it is a genuine non-pirated copy which has either been purchased or rented by your school.
- It has been produced and/or distributed by one of the following studios:
- Roadshow Films Pty Ltd
- Walt Disney
- Warner Bros
- Universal International Pictures
- 20th Century Fox
- Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc
- Hopscotch E One
- StudioCanal (previously known as Hoyts)
- Palace Films
- Rialto Entertainment
Sub labels of the above – such as MGM, United Artists, Dreamworks, Buena Vista, Columbia, Tristar, Marvel and Pixar.
Roadshow is one of the largest distributors of international and local films in Australia. As a result, the Co-Curricular Licence covers the majority of the feature films which are available in Australia.
What to look for
When you buy or rent films, you need to look for the logo of one of the above studios. Some films may contain several logos.
The best place to look for the logo on a DVD is on the spine of the DVD. The back of the DVD sleeve will also generally say something along the lines: “Made in Australia, Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia) Pty Ltd [or similar reference to the relevant distributor for Australia]” which will correspond with the major logo on the spine of the DVD.
The logos of the studios represented by Roadshow are as follows:
Official film websites for films are not a good place to look for finding out whether a film is covered by the Licence. This is because different studios are authorised to distribute a film in different countries around the world. As a result, the website may list the authorised distributors of a film in America, but not those in Australia.
If you are unclear about whether a particular film is covered by the Co-Curricular Licence, please contact Roadshow who will be able to provide you with a simple response.