[Videolib] update on showing movie trailers in libraries

James Scholtz (jimscholtz@sdln.net)
Wed, 19 Mar 2003 12:24:04 -0600

Okay, when I get interested in a topic, I'm like a rabid dog going for a
guy's throat - I just can't let up until I find the facts. I recently
responded to a query concerning the showing of video movie segments on
monitors throughout a library (similar to Blockbuster, Movie Gallery,
etc.). I said that I thought that it was illegal due to one main
fact: The rental companies get looped segments either by physical tape,
DVD or streamed (satellite/cable), controlled and authorized by the
regional office and the movie production company - the library would not
use this - they would use the original (legally acquired video). A library
cannot legally make up a looped copy of clips (content controlled by the
library) and play that program on a closed circuit system. I also said
that movie rental places normally pay a fee for the movie trailer service -
someone else responded that Blockbuster GETS paid to promote the movie
company's movies.
Well - I just called the VSDA and had a great chat with a guy named Jeremy
Brown who enlightened me on this whole matter. First of all - Blockbuster
isn't the average company due to economy of scale. They do get paid to
advertise movie company videos. Everyone else has to pay a service like
Video Pipeline or a screenplay service to receive movie trailers to
show. Basically, the movie production companies can control the content
and length of the trailers shown. Jeremy said that businesses are entitled
to promote their product and business and there isn't any reason a library
shouldn't be able to promote video rentals (charging or not for the
service) the same way a video store does. Video trailers are designed to
advertise, so if a library wants to either play those trailers that appear
on a VHS/DVD before the main attraction OR dup a grouping of them onto a
video master and loop it for play, that is legal. Or they can subscribe to
a video trailer subscription service like a video store. Optionally, they
can subscribe to a site license like MPLC and play as much of the movie(s)
as they want. Currently, there is a lawsuit against Video Pipeline from
Disney for Pipeline downloading streamed video content from the Disney
website and "pushing" it to their subscribers (so its all in the content
control and segment length). If a library wasn't getting any financial
gain from using their own edited clips, I doubt that a Hollywood movie
production company would sue, but one never knows. Wow - I feel much
better now. Take care and happy viewing.

James C. Scholtz, Director
Yankton Community Library
515 Walnut St.
Yankton, SD 57078

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