Re: Home Use Videos in Meeting Rooms

Kristine R. Brancolini (
Tue, 31 Aug 1999 12:27:11 -0700 (PDT)

I think you can use home-use videos for private showings in your library
meeting rooms, even if the people using them are not a family. If calling
the room "private" makes it like a home, the home-use applies to a family
or a small group of friends. You can invite everyone you know over to your
house to watch a video on a Saturday night. If someone wants to interpret
the law narrowly, any showing in a public room -- these are public rooms
given the legal definition -- requires a public performance license, but I
wouldn't worry about being overly consciencious about this. Our local
public library has small viewing room that anyone can use, individually or
in small groups. No one has ever told them to stop. I think it you
rigidly enforce that the small group can include family members only, you
are denying access to your collection unnecessarily.

Some public and academic libraries have worried about allowing library
patrons to watch home-use videos in libraries -- at individual stations or
in small group viewing rooms, but literally *no* library that permits this
activity has ever received a cease-and-desist letter from a copyright
holder, let alone been taken to court. There are articles in law journals
about this topic. I can send you some citations if you need more

Kristine Brancolini
Indiana University Libraries

On Tue, 31 Aug 1999, Maurine Canarsky wrote:

> Hello Videolibbers:
> We are a public library and have 4 meeting rooms. We offer VCR equipment
> use in all of them.
> My question is:
> If we designate 3 of the meeting rooms as "private", meaning that the
> meeting is not open to the public, can "home use" videos be legally
> viewed in them if the group using the room is a family?
> Thanks in advance for your opinions and help.
> Maurine Canarsky, Media Librarian
> Noel Wien Public Library
> 1215 Cowles St.
> Fairbanks, AK 99701
> 907-459-1020
> 907-459-1024 Fax