Monday, September 20, 2010

From the headlines: Academic Libraries Add Netflix Subscriptions

September 18, 2010, 10:34 AM ET

Academic Libraries Add Netflix Subscriptions

A Netflix subscription seems like a no-brainer for an academic library with a limited budget to meet campus demand for audiovisual materials. But as more librarians sign up for its popular mail and streaming-video services, Netflix says library distribution of rented DVD's or streaming video violates its terms of use.
According to Steve Swasey, Netflix' vice president of corporate communications, Netflix does not offer institutional subscriptions. All of its media are meant only for personal consumption. Loaning DVD's out for faculty members to project onscreen in class or allowing students to watch streaming video from a library Netflix account is something the company "frowns upon," Mr. Swasey said.
The company knows that its service is being used by librarians, but so far it has not taken legal action to stop them. "We just don't want to be pursuing libraries," Mr. Swasey said. "We appreciate libraries and we value them, but we expect that they follow the terms of agreement."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this Sarah. I wouldn't feel comfortable using NetFlix in the manner described in the article. Plus the librarian's remark regarding the legality of the program is too risky of a stance for a library to be taking: "Ms. Fitzgerald said there have been no legal repercussions from her library's Netflix program. 'No one from Netflix has questioned this.'" Just because no one has questioned you means it's legal/right/okay? Wow.
    This doesn't seem like a fair use of the NetFlix service, simply because you are signing a contract with them and agree to their terms of service. They are a private company and can decide how their product is to be used. I sort of feel for NetFlix here (a tiny bit), they can't really retaliate against the libraries. Who wants that bad press: "NetFlix punches libraries in the face" -- is it worth rocking the boat?