Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lending Other People's Stuff

iLibrarian points to a post on Tame the Web about an academic library where they're using a Netflix subscription to provide their students and faculty with access to videos.

My immediate question--one also asked by several commenters--was "is that legal?"

Apparently the library in question has never concealed its institutional identity and has not had any complaints from Netflix about the practice, and while the user agreement does not specifically cover library use, it hasn't been specifically forbidden.

So one of those gray areas, perhaps: it's legal until someone tells you to stop.

I don't know if my library administration would be into it, just in case, but there's no denying it would be a really handy resource for library use. Less so in the case of a medical library, until Netflix starts carrying the popular Video Atlas of Human Anatomy, but there are certainly health-related films that might be of interest in various courses, not to mention that sometimes people may enjoy watching some non-course-related materials to give their brains a break.

Just get a viewing room with a TV and a Netflix box of some sort, and let people watch whatever their educational or entertainment needs dictate! A huge video collection available on demand for a reasonable monthly fee, without the need to devote huge portions of the budget to it, or to worry about processing, storing and circulating a bunch of DVDs. I like it!

Maybe Netflix should think about offering institutional subscriptions. I suppose they'd have to work out the agreements with all the film companies too, though, so maybe it's not worth the hassle to them.

Copyright: my old archnemesis.


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