Re: Legal Question

Mark Richie (
Wed, 25 Apr 2001 13:27:43 -0700 (PDT)

Here we go again.

Low cost video vendors have been using that warning for years. It is hot
air for libraries. A warning label can't superceed the first sale
doctrine, fair use or the face to face teaching exemption for public
performance outlined in the copyright law (Title 17).

Contract law in most staes requires that BOTH parties agree to
something. You cannot create a unilateral contract. Unless you SIGNED
a licence or agreement in which you agreed not to loan the video, the
federal law is your guide. Accepting and paying an invoice is not enough
to constitute a contract governing what you can do with the product.

On the other hand (don't you love this) under advice of none other than
Ivan Bender we put roughly the following wording on the bottom of all
our purchase orders as a fair warning to the vendors about our intent.

"Copyrighted materials listed on this Purchase Order are intended
for loan to the public and for use by educational institutions under
the provisions of section 110(1) of the US Copyright Law (Title 17)."

As a public or academic library you could probably modify this to
include the section
covering first sale. If they don;t like it, they can reject the PO. In
12 years none have.

Don't let 'em BS 'ya.

Cheers - MLR

John Holland wrote:
> Recently I have run across some new video releases, mainly on smaller
> specilaized labels (but presumably not bootlegs) with the following
> disclaimer on the label:
> "Warning: This videocassette is licensed for private home use. All other
> rights including duplication, broadcast by any means, RENTAL OR LOAN
> public display are prohibited." (The emphasis in caps is mine).
> Most of this is familiar and understood, but the part about renting or
> loaning through a video store or library is new to me. Is this legit? And
> if so, why are they selling their videos through vendors which sell to
> libraries and video stores? Or is it a lot of hot air?
> I remember seeing this on some videos which were purchased by the library
> a long time ago, and assumed it was no longer valid, but as I mentioned, I
> have several recent purchases that claim the same rights (I will refrain
> from naming names right now).
> Any opinions and/or expert knowledge is welcome!
> John Holland
> Chicago Public Library
> Media Express
> (312)747-4100