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Screening a Film

© Photo by lu_lettering, pixabay license


Films are protected by copyright and as such, permission must be obtained for any screening.

There is an exception for private screenings for family or friends (art. 19 al. 1 let.a LDA).

Educational establishments benefit from the educational exception (art. 19 al. 1 let.b LDA).

Apart from these two cases, screenings organised as part of a film club, themed evening, or association, must be authorised.

Authorisations must be requested from the right holders (producers, distribution companies, etc.).

How to obtain (written!) authorisation to screen a film

  1. Consult the following websites to identify the film's distributor: Swiss Films, Association suisse des distributeurs de films ASFD, Cineuropa, Cinélibre
  2. Write to the distributor stating the title of the film, the date and place of the public screening, the type of event, the number of seats, the price of admission if applicable, and the contact details of the organiser
  3. Contact the SUISA management company for the payment of music rights
  4. Wait for the written agreement before advertising the screening
Whether access is free or paid for does not affect the permissions that must be obtained from rights holders

Allowed, not allowed?

What can be done without asking permission

  • Showing a film during a class (educational purpose)
  • Copying a DVD borrowed from a library for private use
  • Removing or bypassing an anti-copy device from a protected DVD disc for private use
  • Downloading a film from the Internet for private use
  • Recording a TV programme – not a film – and making it available in the library

What can be done with authorisation from the right holders

  • Showing a film to several classes together
  • Screening a film in an educational institution during an evening event
  • Showing a film as part of a film club
  • Screening a film in an association
  • Making a film available on the Internet

What is illegal

  • Copying a DVD to sell or offer for non-private use
  • For libraries, copying a DVD so that you do not have to buy several copies
  • Sharing files from a computer (peer-to-peer)
  • Making files available to download or upload
  • Digitising a film from the library's collection and uploading it to a website

Film Distributors in Switzerland

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