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Showing DVD's to the public....

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by PoochJD, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Okay - this is gonna be a tough one for you lot, and I am hoping you can all help me.

    I am genuinely and seriously interested in starting up a Club Cinema. For those who don't know, these are cinemas that can often show uncensored material, (though not hardcore pornography), to a members-only group.

    Now, the reason I ask this, is because, I need to know the answer to the following:

    1) If I installed an LCD projector into a cinema, instead of a regular theatrical projector, and connected-up a DVD player, would the picture and audio, be better or worse than regular/average cinema screenings?

    2) I understand that it is ILLEGAL to show a DVD to anyone, if they have paid you to watch it. However, if members of the public paid a set annual fee, and then were allowed in free to a limited number of screenings per month or year, and I was to show DVD copies of films, rather than theatrical prints, where would I stand under UK or British law?!

    3) Would I be allowed to show something like "Cannibal Holocaust" or the uncut edition of "Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer", to such an audience, under so-called "Club Conditions"?

    Thanks, in advance,

    Pooch
     
  2. KAO

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    As these sorts of things need to be licensed by your local council, why don't you get in touch with them and see what they say?
     
  3. Dirk 2

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    Pooch,

    Just a thought, why not phone someone like the prince charles cinema in leicester square, as they show unrated special performances. May be they can shed some light.

    I think that the local conuncil is also a good option for information. Or if you really wish to cover yourself, why not call the police directly.

    Good Luck
     
  4. Guest

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    Pooch,

    It is my understanding that is is illegal to show a DVD to an audience regardless of whether or not they pay for it. At least that is what the copyright banners tend to suggest on the front of each DVD.

    I think it is unlikely that it will ever be legal for you to do what you want without the requirement of paying fees to the distributors. The issue of showing uncut material is a whole different ball game !

    Good luck, it's a great idea !

    Cheers<br />Daz
     
  5. VintageMark

    VintageMark
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    Pooch,

    Nothing legal but have to agree with the above, commercially purchased DVDs do have that legal "no lending viewing..etc" type banner...

    Good luck!
     
  6. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi All,

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, especially Dirk. His idea about calling the "Prince Charles" cinema in London, will probably prove useful. Cheers, mate! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

    I'm sure there are perfectly legal ways to show uncertificated / non-BBFC approved versions of films to a public or private audience, here in the UK, otherwise films like "The Evil Dead", "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" and "Last House On The Left" could not have been allowed to be shown, at one-off private engagements and film festivals.

    The reason my question came up, is because a local 3-screen fleapit has just closed, due to lousy attendances. Now, as a third and final year university graduate, who will need to look for employment, I thought that rather than show mainstream stuff, I could possibly try and raise funds to get the cinema converted somehow into a members-only theatre, and to show DVD's on a single, big screen. That way, I could be more like an arthouse cinema, but show themed weeks/seasons of different types of movies.

    As there are already way too many multiplexes and other cinemas near where I live, I wouldn't want to try competing with them, as financially, it simply wouldn't work. Also, I wouldn't want to try and compete with my local arthouse cinema, as I love them, and frequent their place a lot, and they do show a lot of rare foreign stuff. However, if I could show material not available anywhere else, bar DVD's, then I may have a chance at running a successful business. PLus, with the addition of better sound and audio, it could prove to be a success!!!

    I mean, how many memebers of the public own multi-region DVD player, and watch non-mainstream stuff? With the exception of real movie-fans and film-buffs, or Home Cinema fans, then the answer is probably going to be in very low figures. Most people from an average family, probably don't want to spend £20 on a DVD, they may only watch once, but probably already own a VCR, and hence don't object to renting titles, or paying £10 for a video. Alternatively, they don't mind renting a DVD title, and watching it on their budget-priced R2 machine, on a crappy 20" TV screen!

    This is only an idea, and I still have my entire third year at university to complete yet, but it's something I'm seriously considering......

    Anyone care to offer any suggestions?

    Pooch
     
  7. Matty N

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    There is a national library of videos that can be hired on a more or less weekly basis that are copyrighted for presentation to an audience. Unfortunately each disk costs in the region of £100, although I believe you can then charge to see it.

    Regular shop-bought DVDs cannot be shown to audiences other than at home to one familly!

    You would also need a music license as well to cover the artistic copyright on the soundtrack.
     
  8. Len

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    Contact the ALCS Authors Licensing & Collecting Society email alcs@alcs.co.uk or visit <a href="http://www.alcs.co.uk." target="_blank">www.alcs.co.uk.</a> They may be able to help you. And I get lots of nice cheques from them every now and then. There is no doubt that what you want to do can be done... but you will have to pay for it in some way. You may also need to contact PRS Tel: 0207 580 5544 [at least that's the last telephone number I had for them] PRS deal with the music side of things and all pubs and restaurants and public places that play music by original artists must display the PRS symbol and pay a fee to them. Otherwise it's illegal.

    Hope that's of use
     
  9. PoochJD

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    Gentlemen, Ladies, and those not of this planet,

    Thanks for all the help and pointers! Having made some phone calls to various people and places, it seems that I could do what I intend, but I would need to do a lot more research to see if it was really a viable business plan or not.

    Bearing in mind, I want to show controversial films, and uncensored ones at that, I would need to contact all the distributors/producers of the DVD's I want to show, before I could do so legally. Also, I probably would be able to show uncensored movies, as long as my local City Council approves them, which they have done so in the past for special one-off screenings at my local arthouse cinema.

    Essentially, there is hope on the horizon for this idea of mine. However, this year, I need to get my third year of university out of the way, and the dissertation as well, before I go any further with this. It may be the case that I could hire out a screen at the local arthouse or multiplex, and use their facilities, instead of having my own "cinema" per se, which would proove very, very costly. An example: local fleapit that has just closed down, is currently for sale at a measly £500,000!

    Anyway, thanks to everyone, and I may resurrect this thread at a later date in the future.

    Finally, Jus: you said: "There are a few bars I know of that show DVD's on a daily basis. The music is turned down and the film turned up so that the people in the bar can watch the film. I'm sure the bars don't pay any royalities. Not sure if this is legal but one of the bars is on a main street, and you can actually watch the film from the street or even the bus when it stops at the traffic lights outside!"

    What these places are doing, is certainly illegal, as they are doing what I want to do - i.e. air a DVD to a paying audience. The only difference, is that people buy drinks and food, to watch the film.

    As for: "A big problem would be to get people to stump up the cash...might be best to go for monthly or even weekly membership!" I would be showing stuff that only multi-region DVD owners can import from the US or Europe, whereas Joe Punter, probably doesn't know about, nor cares about, but if they could see them, without the liability of actually importing the material themselves, then I think they would cough-up the money... as long as the price was reasonable.

    Imagine if you didn't own a DVD, and being able to see uncut films at a local establishment, suddenly became possible, for a small fee of some kind. I know I'd probably want to check it out. After all, if it weren't for being able to import DVD's reasonably easy, then many of us wouldn't be here, in this very forum, talking about uncut films on region 2 and 1 DVD's, and asking which is the one to go for, would we?! <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

    Pooch

    [ 30-08-2001: Message edited by: PoochJD ]</p>
     
  10. Guest

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    So in other words its illegal to invite a group of mates round to your house and have them watch a DVD?
     
  11. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi Sodemo,

    No. The problem is when you pay to watch the DVD. IN a pub, you are technically paying to watch the movie, as you are buying food and/or drink. If you don't, and you simply plonked yourself on a seat, and stayed to watch their DVD's, I'm sure some republicans wouldn't be too chuffed about that.

    Inviting friends or family round to your house, to watch a DVD is not a problem. It would, however, if you asked for payment from them.

    Pooch
     
  12. Guest

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    There are a few bars I know of that show DVD's on a daily basis. The music is turned down and the film turned up so that the people in the bar can watch the film. I'm sure the bars don't pay any royalities. Not sure if this is legal but one of the bars is on a main street, and you can actually watch the film from the street or even the bus when it stops at the traffic lights outside !

    I thinks it's well worth investigating. Charge a fee for the 'cinema appreciation' club membership card, information pack and bi-annual cinema mag. Then view a film so that the members can discuss the impact the film has had on society.

    A big problem would be to get people to stump up the cash...might be best to go for monthly or even weekly membership!
     
  13. BadAss

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    If its illigal to charge then don't charge. Instead ask the punters for a donation toward the running of your Cinema. Then get your punters to pre book a seat, that way you know who they are and you don't have any strangers walking in off the street. That way if the cops show up you can say they are all friends and not totall strangers.
     
  14. Dirk 2

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    I admire your enthuiasm (that don't look spelt right) Pooch, but the more I think about this enterprise, the more complicated it seems.

    Consider the premises that you are going to use. There will be fire inspections, health and safety issues and building insurance.

    To show any sort of film or music, there will be licencing issues.

    So it may be useful to take legal advice and liaise with the local constabulary. Best to keep them informed so the local right -wing fringe can't whip up a scare story and label you as a "peddlar of filth". You know the type I mean, I'm sure.

    Recently, the Prince Charles had a film festival in which numerous unrated film were shown. This was run in conjunction with "The Cinema Store".

    <a href="http://www.the-cinema-store.com/system/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.the-cinema-store.com/system/index.html</a>

    You can contact Paul the owner on 0207 379 7865. He may be able to offer some practical advice. He's a nice guy.

    If this does progress, let us know co's I'd like to offer any help I can and would gladly be one of your first customer/members and watch something like "Twitch Of The Death Nerve" in a private cinema.
     

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