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Librarians Gone Wild: Violating Netflix Terms of Use!

For some time now, academic librarians have been resorting to Netflix to plug shortages in their media holdings. In fact, they have been thoroughly above-board about it; even the distinguished journal Library Trends ran an article about "Netflix in an Academic Library" last winter; author Ciara Healy wrote in the abstract that "Netflix turned out to be an excellent, cost-effective solution." The other week, an acquisitions librarian at Concordia College in New York blogged about the blessing of her institution's double eight-disc-at-a-time subscription, which she wrote saved her library $3,000. Though one commenter wondered "how you got this past legal for your university," she responded that there had been "no legal repercussions."

Full story here. Next line in story is - Whoops. Turns out Netflix isn't actually cool with libraries using the service and doesn't want early adopting librarians to be encouraging others to do so.


In the Chronicle of Higher Education article that is linked to in the Fast Company story there is this line "Loaning DVD's out for faculty members to project onscreen in class or allowing students to watch streaming video from a library Netflix account is something the company "frowns upon," Mr. Swasey said."

Professors showing the movie in class is a public performance and they don't have the rights to do that. Count up the infractions 1) Violating Netflix terms of service 2) Copyright violation

Why do we bother to follow any laws at all? Just hoist a pirate flag at your library.

Do you have permission to display that pirate image on this website?


You clearly do not understand "fair use" and copyright as it relates to the academic setting. It is NOT considered public performance to show a movie in a closed classroom setting that cannot be accessed by outsiders.

My source adds a caveat to what you said:

Question: Can I rent videos to show in class?
Answer: Yes, as long as the videos were legally obtained and the use is for face-to-face instruction in a nonprofit educational institution.

So a for profit school would not be within the fair use exception.

How did anyone think this was legal?

You could have turned this into a massive marketing and PR opportunity with a captive audience of grateful, well-networked subscribers who have access to truckloads of the most appealing demographics of the American public. Instead, you support an interpretation of copyright law that every school ends up breaking at least in part anyway in an attempt to, you know, teach. I could be offended by this. Instead, I'm going to laugh at you - a lot.

"Electricity is really just organized lightning." - George Carlin