FAQ : Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a public performance?
Any exhibition of a movie outside the privacy of a home setting is considered a public performance.
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Do we need a license even if we don’t charge admission?
Yes! A license is required for all public performances regardless of whether admission is charged.
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What if a video store or equipment provider says it is okay to exhibit rented or purchased movies?
These stores rent and sell movies for “home use only” and cannot provide legal permission for use outside the home. You can only obtain licensing directly from a licensor (such as Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.), not from a third party.
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Who bears the responsibility if a film is shown without a license?
The management of the venue or premises where the movie is shown bears the ultimate responsibility and consequences of copyright infringement. However, anyone involved with the public performance of copyrighted material should seek compliance.
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I own the movie. Do I still need a license to show it outside my home?
Yes. Neither the rental, purchase or lending of a videocassette or DVD carries with it the right to exhibit movies outside the home.
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I want to show an old movie, from the 1930’s or 40’s. Do I still need a license?
Absolutely. Copyright pertains to all movies regardless of the year it was produced.
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A small group is having an informal gathering in our facility. Do we still need a license?
Yes! A license needs to be obtained regardless of the number of people attending the screening, if the movie is being shown outside your home.
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Why is Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. appointed to issue these Public Performance Licenses?
Since 1937, Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. has been distributing Public Performance Licenses and exclusive licensed movies to non-theatrical markets including U.S. colleges and universities, hospitals, cruise ships, public schools, libraries, motor coaches, Amtrak trains and correctional facilities. Swank has been appointed by major film studios as their licensing agent to provide a Public Performance License for legal public performance of movies. The license fees compensate the copyright owners and the men and women who work on the film’s production. These royalties are the way publishers, authors and composers are paid for their work.
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How do I place an order?
Contact us toll-free at one of the following numbers:

For AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WV, WI, WY, please call 1-800-876-5577.

For CT, DE, D.C., ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA, please call 1-800-876-3344.

Choose the titles you would like to show and let our experienced staff help you produce your film or video program. Place your order early to ensure your movie choices will be available.
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How will I know if my movie order is confirmed?
Your Swank account executive will give you an immediate verbal confirmation, if possible, in addition to mailing you a printed confirmation. Call if your printed confirmation is not correct. Confirmations can also be obtained via email; simply provide us with your email address at the time of your order.
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How many days can I show the movie?
Prices are for a one-day rental. For each additional day shown, a fee of $100 will be charged. If you charge admission, your movie rental rate is the flat rate versus 50% of your gate receipts, whichever is greater. Payment is due upon receipt of the invoice.
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When will my movie arrive?
Your movies will arrive at least two business days before your show date. A full inspection of your video, DVD, 16mm or 35mm is required at that time. If your print has not arrived, call your Swank Account Executive. Payment of your full rental fee is required if there is not notification to your Swank Account Executive at least one (1) business day prior to your show regarding undelivered or damaged prints. DVD copies are delivered to you at least two business days prior to your show. At this time it is necessary to view the ENTIRE movie in the actual equipment (including the projector, if applicable) which will be used during your screening. The reason for this is because dual layering is used industry-wide to accommodate special features on your DVD. The transition between layers can cause pauses, skipping, pixilations or freezing during play. Some DVD players may NOT be compatible with the DVD itself. This needs to be assessed in enough time to change copies, equipment or, if necessary, even titles if you find that your player and disk are incompatible. Damage during shipment can also cause variations in play; however, keep in mind that shallow scratches and smudges on the disk will likely NOT affect its play. A visual inspection is not enough to determine whether or not the DVD will play smoothly. A complete viewing is the only way to determine if the product is ready for a successful screening. If you find that you are having difficulty with a DVD, contact your Swank Account Executive immediately. At that time, all efforts will be made to resolve your problem. No discounts or refunds will be given if we are not alerted at least one (1) business day prior to your screening date.
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How do I return the movie?
Movies must be returned on the first business day following the scheduled showing. Future bookings are dependent on your timely return of all movies. Charges will apply for any delay in returning your movies from a late fee, up to and including an additional full rental charge for the movie. Swank includes postage for your convenience on 16mm, video and DVD shipments. The shipping and handling charge includes postage for delivery to you and return to Swank. You are responsible for the movie while it is in your possession and until Swank receives it at our facility in Elmhurst, IL. Please rewind videocassettes before returning them to Swank. Do not rewind 16mm films. Use a take-up reel of the same size we send to you, tape down film ends, replace the reel bands and lock the film case before returning the movie.
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How do I cancel my movie?
Any film may be canceled without obligation provided that Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. receives written notification ten (10) business days before the show date or the full rental and handling charges must be paid.
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What do I do if my show date changes?
All show date changes must be made in writing and received by Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. ten (10) days before the film is shipped, or the full rental and handling charges must be paid.
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What are the restrictions of the license for my movie?
Your order is for a limited license to exhibit only to the agreed upon time and place. Violation of this is subject to the penalties set forth in the Federal Copyright Act. No movie, or any portion thereof, may be copied or duplicated in any manner. Television, broadcasting or any type of electronic transmission of any Swank movie may only be done in extraordinary circumstances and must be pre-approved in writing by Swank and at different specified rates. Infraction of this violates the Federal Copyright Statutes and carries a penalty of up to $5,000. Hollywood studios reserve the right to reject showings of certain movies to potential crowds over 200.
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Are there any advertising restrictions?
These motion pictures are specifically licensed for non-theatrical showings only. Advertising through media such as public radio, public television or general public newspaper is strictly prohibited. Advertising must be used exclusively to inform members or staff of movie showings via on-premises bulletin boards or direct mail.
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Can I plan a fundraiser with my movie?
You may fund raise with any movie except for Walt Disney Pictures’ feature-length movies, for which you may only charge admission to help defray the rental cost of the movie.
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What if my screening is affected by unforeseen circumstances?
In the event of inclement weather, electrical problems, projector malfunction or other problems that prevent you from showing your film on your scheduled date, you have the option to show the film again within one year at no additional rental charge. Regardless of rescheduling, all invoices are due at the time of the original show date. Only freight will be charged for the rescheduled show date. Titles cannot be substituted for rescheduling. All advertising and admission policies still apply to the rescheduled show.
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Who do I call for billing and payment information?
For questions involving invoices and payments, please contact the Customer Service Department in St. Louis, Missouri toll-free
at 1-800-876-5445.
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Where do I send payment?
Please mail payments directly to our financial institution:
Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.
2844 Paysphere Circle
Chicago, IL 60674

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