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Did You Know That You May Need a License to Play TV & Music in Your Rental Community?

M

any residential rental properties have a variety of audiovisual amenities in common areas, adding the comforts of TV and music to the lounge or the fitness center, for example. Large screen TVs, Bluetooth connected speakers and the like can be found in game rooms, clubhouses and even luxury screening rooms. But did you know that in order to be in compliance with U.S. Copyright Law, these properties

probably need licenses in support of these amenities? If you provide music or television in common areas like a lobby, lounge, clubhouse, game room or fitness center, you may be required to obtain a license. This is governed by the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, Title 17, which considers common areas to be “public.” The licensing requirement applies whether you are showing DVDs, streaming, using a cable or satellite service, or even

BY DAVE DAVIS, MOTION PICTURE LICENSING CORPORATION

just playing the radio. And it applies for scheduled “movie nights” as well as incidental unscheduled viewing or listening. Failure to comply with the Copyright Act can result in serious financial consequences, ranging from $750 to $150,000 for each illegal exhibition, plus court costs and attorney fees. These can really add up. For example, a defendant in one case was required to License to Play — continued on page 28

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Apartment News

www.aaoc.com

September 2021