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?

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: netflix

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Librarians Violating Netflix Terms Of Service To Better Serve Patrons”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Jim (user link) says:

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.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

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.

Ryan Diederich says:

Re: 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.

Patrik (user link) says:

Re: 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.

khopesh (user link) says:

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).

minnie (profile) says:

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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...