Re: individual patrons & pub. perf. rights

Video Librarian (
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 09:52:48 -0800 (PST)

To Kris, Gary, et al.:

Apparently not everyone agrees with my interpretation of copyright law
(which is as it should be on such a murky subject). I'd like to believe
that public libraries would be allowed to show videos on the premises, but I
see nothing in the law to support that interpretation. I don't think that
"fair use" applies here, and the number of people present is irrelevant
(the law specifies type of place not number of people). The fact that two
companies sell licenses for showing feature films in public libraries
also suggests that *somebody* seems to think that non-licensed showings
are illegal (I won't comment on what I think about the companies here;
I've done that elsewhere). Finally, I don't know of any decisions since
the Redd Horne and Nickelodeon decisions (which definitely support my
understanding of the law). ALA and industry execs were supposed to meet
and devise guidelines over this issue, but again if that's come to pass I
haven't heard about it. I do agree with most people that prosecution is
unlikely, and that even if the case were to come to court, a favorable
resolution might arise. However, the point in my editorial was that
current copyright law doesn't support the idea of throwing "Bambi" on the
monitor for all and sundry to watch.

Randy Pitman
Video Librarian
3672 NE Liverpool Dr.
Bremerton WA 98311
(800) 692-2270

On Thu, 24 Oct 1996, Gary Handman wrote:

> OK guys, now listen up.
> Kris Brancolini, Rick Provine, and I were at an NVR (Rockefeller)
> week-long symposium a year ago in Austen, TX. Ivan Bender (the Great
> Panjandrum of Video Copyright) also attended. Now, Ivan used to be in
> the pocket of AIM (in other words, an industry flack), but subsequently
> got religion (or something) and jumped ship to the Consortium of College
> and University Media Centers. Used to be (in Ivan's AIM days) that he
> categorically claim that video use by an individual in a carrel in a
> public place (such as a library) constituted public performance. At the
> Austen bash, Ivan--to our great amazement and joy--indicated that he now
> feels that such use would probably (PROBABLY) be looked upon as allowable
> (i.e. without performance rights) in a place such as a library or school
> media center. There has, to my knowledge, been no litigation supporting
> either point of view...
> Speaking purely for myself...I'd go to bat anytime in support of in-library
> use by individuals...Sometimes its worth taking risks in support of broad
> access to information...
> Gary Handman
> Director
> Media Resources Center
> Moffitt Library
> UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
> 510-643-8566