Fri, 10 Nov 1995 10:02:46 -0500 (EST)

I recently received information from MPLC about their blanket licensing
service. I support the copyright laws and fair use guidelines, and I
think the MPLC serves a legitimate function.
However, their are gaping holes in their "blanket"!
They represent some 20,000 titles. However, when I checked our
video collection, which numbers about 1000, I found only about 30 titles
covered by their blanket.
In other words, only 3% of our collection.
By far the largest distributor respresented in our collection is
PBS video, with about 250 titles.
Many of the major feature film distributors are not covered by
MPLC, such as Embassy, Columbia, Fox, Paramount, Home Vision, MGM,
and so on.
So, as usual, buyer beware!
Our library staff decided not to purchase public performance licenses
for "home use" videos, due to the expense. Rather, we monitor their use
and inform users about fair use guidelines, and ask them to call the
distributors for permission, or we call for them.
Our school is small enough that this will cover most situations.
The Student Union purchases its performance licenses for rented
feature films from Swank, etc.
Where I have had trouble is in ad hoc showings by student organizations.
But recently I have issued a memo to all faculty and staff, (which includes
club advisors) describing the illegality of these, and I have made sure the
director of Student Activities (clubs fall under him) is aware of all this.
One of the lines from the memo is "Therefore I MUST ask you not to request
equipment from Media Services for showings that might be illegal."
Have a nice weekend.
Stan Gilliam