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Old 02-21-2013, 02:03 PM   #1
tubemonkey
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Should Public Libraries Loan Roku Boxes?

That's exactly what a library in Pennsylvania has been doing since last year. But is it a good idea to expend limited funds, that could be used for more books, for a device that requires services many patrons may not have?

Quote:
A Roku lending program launched last year by Ephrata Public Library (EPL) in Pennsylvania has proven so popular that the library is planning to invest in several more of the media streaming devices in the coming months.

“We’re adding our third and our fourth [soon], and I would say this year, we will probably add six to eight,” said EPL Executive Director Penny Talbert. “There are always holds on them, and they’re circulating for a week.”
But then, is this legal?

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And, although the matter has not been challenged in court, there have been debates about whether library programs that involve Netflix or similar consumer lending programs may violate those companies’ terms of service. Talbert said that the library has read the terms of service for the content providers carefully, and believes that EPL is in compliance, due to the maintenance of dedicated subscriptions for each device, and the fact that EPL does not use the devices to broadcast content to public audiences within the library.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:46 PM   #2
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Is the library supplying the Netflix account that is linked to the Roku? I don't think that would fly with Netflix if so.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:52 PM   #3
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Is the library supplying the Netflix account that is linked to the Roku? I don't think that would fly with Netflix if so.
Yes; each box has a separate account. It's no different than a personal subscription.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:08 PM   #4
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I don't get it. Are they lending the high-speed internet access you need to use it as well? Surely people are just treating it as a try-before-you-buy plan.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Yes; each box has a separate account. It's no different than a personal subscription.
Except that Netflix takes TOS issue with anyone using a Netflix account that isn't listed on the account. Practically it shouldn't matter, but to Netflix it might.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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I have to say no, but there are a lot of things libraries now do I don't think they should.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:03 PM   #7
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Except that Netflix takes TOS issue with anyone using a Netflix account that isn't listed on the account. Practically it shouldn't matter, but to Netflix it might.
That said, I ran this by lawyer best friend and as a result: breaking TOS is sometimes breaking contract. That said, chances are that Netflix won't take legal action due to bad publicity and unfavorable headlines.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:10 PM   #8
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Well there is alot of educational channels on Roku it's not all Netflix and Hulu. It could be for that purposes. My hubby likes TED talks and other channels that put me to sleep.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
I don't get it. Are they lending the high-speed internet access you need to use it as well? Surely people are just treating it as a try-before-you-buy plan.
Just the box and subscription. Patrons have to supply their own internet access.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:28 PM   #10
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Netflix objects when people share a Netflix account, with one family having a box at their house, and another family having a second box at their house, but both of them on the same account. They might not object to what the library is doing, as each box has its own Netflix account.

As for whether the library should do this, that's a decision to be made by the people who live in that library district.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theinfamousj View Post
Except that Netflix takes TOS issue with anyone using a Netflix account that isn't listed on the account. Practically it shouldn't matter, but to Netflix it might.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theinfamousj View Post
That said, I ran this by lawyer best friend and as a result: breaking TOS is sometimes breaking contract. That said, chances are that Netflix won't take legal action due to bad publicity and unfavorable headlines.
They've been doing this since the spring of 2012. The library claims they're not violating the TOS (I've bolded the relevant part).

Quote:
And, although the matter has not been challenged in court, there have been debates about whether library programs that involve Netflix or similar consumer lending programs may violate those companies’ terms of service. Talbert said that the library has read the terms of service for the content providers carefully, and believes that EPL is in compliance, due to the maintenance of dedicated subscriptions for each device, and the fact that EPL does not use the devices to broadcast content to public audiences within the library.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:05 PM   #12
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They are loaning out a total of *two* boxes and growing to four.
That is, what, two Random House ebooks less they are buying?

I'm guessing Netflix isn't going to make a stink because the two boxes are promoting their service. Also, bear in mind Roku boxes aren't just for Netflix. They're for Crunchyroll, too.
(And a whole bunch of other services.)
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:05 PM   #13
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I don't really think watching TV is within the mission of a library. But I guess whatever gets 'em in the door.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:48 PM   #14
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I don't really think watching TV is within the mission of a library. But I guess whatever gets 'em in the door.
Why not? It's not as libraries only have non-fiction books anymore. And I don't particularly think that one form of escapism is particularly better than another.

Some early Carnegie libraries had billiard rooms.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I'm guessing Netflix isn't going to make a stink because the two boxes are promoting their service.
Maybe Roku and Netflix should help libraries by subsidizing their products. It's a win-win for all parties involved. After all, anyone who gets hooked on it is sure to go out and buy one, since borrowing will not always be available.
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