• Public Display of Super Bowl on Movie Theatre Screens without NFL License Halted
  • April 18, 2008
  • Law Firm: Winston & Strawn LLP - Chicago Office
  • Chunky's Cinema Pub, a movie theatre chain, recently attempted to conduct a promotion where it offered consumers free admission to view the Super Bowl on its big movie screens. While Chunky's did not charge for admission, it likely sought to profit from concessions. The National Football League issued a cease and desist to Chunky's, explaining that since the NFL is the exclusive owner in the copyright of the broadcast, the NFL exclusively owns the right to publicly display the game. As such, the NFL argued that the game cannot be shown on a television set any larger than what is typically found in a viewer's home without the NFL's permission. Notably, federal copyright law contains an exemption for "food service and drinking establishments" for televisions of 55" or smaller, but the same exemption does not exist for other forms of exhibition like movie theatres and churches.

    TIP: Consider copyright laws before publicly displaying copyrighted works. What you can do at home, or in a sports bar, you may not necessarily have the right to do elsewhere.