Re: PRICE GOUGING or GOOD BUSINESS?

Nancy Maxwell (nmaxwell@mcls.rochester.lib.ny.us)
Thu, 4 Apr 1996 09:45:06 -0500 (EST)

I had this exact conversation with the people at Direct Cinema. We also
only lend our videos to patrons and don't have any means of using them as
a public performance in our library.

Nancy R.Maxwell
A-V Librarian
Henrietta Public Library
Rochester, NY 14623

On Wed, 3 Apr 1996, Lloyd Jansen: Kinks Fan wrote:

> Hello again everyone! I just had an interesting phone conversation with
> a small video company that I would like to share with you. Our library
> selected a video from this company and our order clerk called them to
> place the order. I should preface by saying that we only buy videos
> for patrons to check out and, with a few exceptions for J programming
> videos, never need to purchase public performance rights. The information
> we had for the title listed the price at $35 for the home video version
> and $80 for public performance rights. The company representative told
> our order clerk that our library would have to pay the higher price since
> we are an "institution." The order clerk put the person on hold and came
> to me (I am the chair of our video committee) since this was an unusual
> case and she wanted to know if we should go ahead and pay the extra amount.
> I wanted to hear for myself what the vendor was saying, so I took the
> call and asked the representative to please explain their policy. I was
> told that their company routinely charges libraries the public performance
> price since many people would be borrowing the video from us rather than
> buying the video from them. I replied that public performance rights
> implied that the library would be using the video in a setting where an
> audience of at least several people would be viewing the video at the same
> time. Since we only intended to check the video out to individual patrons
> who would then use the video at home it would be unfair for us to pay the
> higher price. The company feels that if a series of individuals check
> the video out then you reach a sort of cumulative public performance.
> The representative also told me that they had never heard this complaint
> from other libraries and seemed to think that it was unreasonable of us
> to argue the point. The conversation ended with the company not bending
> on their price and us not buying the video. Has anyone else dealt with
> this kind of pricing issue? I reviewed Randy Pitman's "The Outer Limits
> of Video Pricing" article from the 5/15/95 Library Journal, but did not
> see this specific issue mentioned. Can this rightly be considered
> library price gouging, or do you think the company was fairly protecting
> their own interests? As far as I know we have never encountered this
> situation before and we deal with a wide variety of vendors. I would
> be glad to hear any comments from the group. Thanks!
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Lloyd Jansen
> Cataloging Librarian "...My girlfriend packed her bags
> Stockton-San Joaquin County and moved out to another town/She
> (California) Public Library couldn't stand the boredom when
> (209) 937-8670 the video broke down"--R.D. Davies
> jansel02@stockton.lib.ca.us
>