Sunday, October 12, 2008

Feedback on "Netflix for Schools"

Thanks everyone for your great insights on my question regarding a Netflix subscription for my school library. I did a lot of follow up based on your comments. In a nutshell, my findings showed that a school subscription is most likely a form of copyright infringement. However, I am not the only librarian who has dreamed up this idea. In fact, I read of two libraries who implemented the idea. Both were public libraries. One was in Rhode Island another in New York.

I even read a Newsweek article that explained how a small town video rental shop used Netflix to broaden the offerings within their collection. Netflix was clearly not in favor of this practice, but conceded they have very few ways of policing this sort of activity.

This notion brought me to Netflix's web site. On the Terms of Use page under Intellectual Property it states, "The use of the Netflix service, including DVDs rented to you by us is solely for your personal and non-commercial use." Libraries, even school libraries, are non-commercial users, but the personal aspect is questionable. Perhaps encouraging staff members to open their own subscriptions would be a way around this language. Maybe?

Darn! It was just too good to be true.

McGinn, D. (2008, March 10). Sure we've got that. Newsweek. Retrieved October 12, 2008, from

Netflix. (2008). Terms of Use. Retrieved October 12, 2008, from


Steph Herfel said...

Hi, Michelle.
Yes, I would think NetFlix would have a problem with lending their movies out to the public, and I think rightfully so. I am surprised that they are not bringing a suit against libraries and/or other organizations that are getting to watch these videos at no cost. This not only hurts NetFlix, but the movie producers' royalties as well.

I think if a video store or other entity wants to broaden their DVD collection, they should look into a DVD vending machine or allow for the purchase of more DVDs in their budget. Once you own it, "right of sale" allows you to lend it all you want. :)

Lorena said...

Yup, after more reading, I likewise figured it wouldn't be a big possibility. I too had seen the libraries that use the service and wondered if NetFlix is aware it's a library using the service? As someone mentioned in an earlier post, our library buys all the DVDs and videos we lend out, it's just the books on CD that we lease.

Lorena said...

PS Michelle, thanks for taking the time to find out!

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