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Librarians Violating Netflix Terms Of Service To Better Serve Patrons

from the gotta-go-with-the-librarians-here... dept

Rose M. Welch was the first of a few of you to send in the news that librarians have realized that Netflix is a great way to expand the catalog of DVDs that can be loaned out, even though it violates Netflix's terms of service. Netflix seems a bit ambivalent about the whole thing, saying that they don't like it, and they would expect librarians would obey the terms of service (which this does not), but that they really don't want to sue libraries -- perhaps recognizing how awful that would look from a PR standpoint. While I applaud Netflix not going straight to the lawyers, is it really that big of a deal that libraries are using Netflix in this manner?


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 7:03pm

    I suspect the 'content owners' would be the more likely party to have a problem with the situation. I also suspect that if Netflix tried to do the smart thing and capitalize the situation by creating a special service just for libraries the content owners would raise a major stink.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 7:23pm

    teh bigger question

    is the dvd being paid for per day by the library and if so WHO CARES then, it just means that dvdr is being used and this paid for more often. MAKE a fuss ok we won't use your service nor buy those dvdrs.

    THATS the reason they dont sue

     

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  3.  
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    Jim, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 7:24pm

    Oh yes, they like it plenty.

    I had a job running undergrad dorms as a grad student. Once an undergrad asked me if he could have a party, which would have been illegal. I said that if I hear about a party, I'll write him up. Then I made sure I was out of the dorm that night. He made sure his party was very quiet.

    The point is that Netflix (a.k.a., The World's Largest DVD Ripping Service) has to *say* it doesn't like it so they don't piss off the studios by looking like they condone it. In truth, it gets more subscribers and more advertising for Netflix by exposing more people to those little red envelopes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 7:35pm

    i have a feeling they don't like it is becuase they can't farm the individuals tastes to better serve them. Well that and the dvd gets much more abuse then normal

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 8:37pm

    This is a great opportunity for Netflix and for libraries that can't afford to keep in stock ever single movie ever made. By the time the movie gets delivered to the library, processed, delivered to the patron, returned to the library, then sent back to Netflix, they would be making much more per disc than the average customer.

    At first I thought this would be about their streaming service, which is another great opportunity for Netflix. How about a customized library homepage that serves up documentaries and educational films?

    The goal of Netflix should be to get people to realize there's an alternative to cable TV, but I agree with Jim, they're probably just saying that they care to look good.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Howard, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 9:19pm

    I sort of like N-flix. I really use them a lot.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 9:40pm

    Re:

    How would they be making more per disc? Netflix does not charge per day.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 9:49pm

    I do want to know why netflix cant take a bad copy of a disk, trash it and burn a new copy on the spot. Its not an insane idea given the data is the only thing worth anything.

     

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  9.  
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    Ryan Diederich, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 11:16pm

    Re:

    BURN A COPY!?!??!?!

    You're a madman, thats stealing, and you're evil.

    Nah not really.



    Netflix would in fact make more money than the average customer, as their tiered service works by how many discs you want to be able to have out at a time (correct me if I am wrong). Of course a library would need the unlimited tier, which is a lot more per month than my subscription for 1-2 discs out at a time.

     

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    toerings, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 11:27pm

    Re: Re:

    But they do. You pay X dollars per month for Y discs out at a time. Further they pay postage both ways so a quick turnaround reduces their profit.

     

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  11.  
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    Danny, Sep 24th, 2010 @ 5:37am

    Re:

    Agreed. I think it would a great opportunity to make some sort of arrangement so that libraries get like a discount from Netflix on movies (especially documentaries). But as you say the content owners would get pissy because they would call it everything from "piracy" to "lost revenue".

     

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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 24th, 2010 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re:

    No, they don't have unlimited. They have the 8 disc a month plan, which is available to anyone.

     

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    Patrik, Sep 24th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's actually an 8 disc *at-a-time* plan. The deal is that you can have up to 8 discs at once, but you can send all 8 back and get 8 new ones as many times as you'd like in a month... well, you're limited only by the length of the month vs transit time by the USPS.

    So, assuming that it takes about 3 days total to send the discs back, have them processed, and then have new ones shipped to you, you could conceivably "rent" 80 discs in a month. Of course, that wouldn't leave you any time to actually watch them. It seems like only a library or similar institution would be able to take full advantage of that particular plan. Though much like a gym, Netflix has no interest in anyone taking FULL advantage of any of their plans.

    Actually I wasn't aware that Netflix even had such a large plan. I thought 3 at a time for ~$20 was the max.

     

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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 24th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First, it says 'unlimited', but it's not. All heavy DVD traffic is throttled.

    Second, the larger plans are available to you, as well. All you have to do is click the inconspicuous hyperlink that says 'Show Additional Unlimited Plans'.

     

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    khopesh, Sep 24th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Profit problems

    Netflix is making a profit off of the service, but presumably so too are the libraries (most libraries I've encountered charge a nominal amount of money to borrow a movie). Netflix has a fixed fee for a certain number of concurrently rented movies while libraries charge per movie and have due dates and late fees.

    A properly managed library-owned Netflix account would almost always have its full allotment of movies out on loan. If the loan period is two days for a dollar, that's $15/mo per movie at full capacity, which nets a hefty profit (in terms of a library...) that Netflix undoubtedly wants a larger piece of.

    Simple solution: Netflix should create a service for libraries that splits profits in a more direct (and official) capacity, which should add flexibility into the system and be preferable for all parties involved (possibly excepting the upstream movie distributors).

     

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    Mudlock, Sep 24th, 2010 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Profit problems

    "most libraries I've encountered charge a nominal amount of money to borrow a movie"

    What illiterate back-water do you live in where this is the case?

    The LATE FEE for DVDs is often significantly higher, but I have NEVER heard of a library charging for the simple act of borrowing one.

     

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  17.  
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    minnie (profile), Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 9:45am

    I don't think libraries should break any other organization's rules in the course of providing services. What sort of message does that send to our public? Even if it would be bad p.r. for any sort of commercial firm to sue libraries, this is just wrong. If Netflix would be free (in the context of its contracts with film companies) to develop a special deal with libraries, that would be great.

     

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