I’m going ignored “Banned” Books Week this year. The ALA has worn me down with their inanities, so you’ll just have to read whatever I’ve written in the past. Until the ALA is able to distinguish the “freedom to read” from, say, handing porn books to children, then their arguments can’t be taken seriously by intelligent people. If you read the ALA propaganda, it’s clear they can’t make that distinction, hence this intelligent person has decided to stop arguing with them. You can’t argue with unreasonable ideologues, whether they come from the ALA or or the Communist Party or the Tea Party.
So let’s get back to videos! There has been so much furor over that guest post on the Webtamer’s blog a couple of weeks ago, where a librarian seemed to believe her library’s limited budget for DVDs made it okay to use Netflix despite violating its terms of service. Why anyone pays attention to that blog I’ll never know?
Meredith Farkas obviously reads it, and didn’t like the hypocrisy she found. Oh, Meredith, I thought information was supposed to be free! Oh, and according to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Netflix didn’t like it either. Whatever.
Far from criticizing librarians who are using Netflix and violating the terms of service, I’m here to celebrate them and offer them further suggestions for saving money while still supplying the library with videos.
First, we should all be thankful to have professionals bold enough to state publicly that they’re deliberately ignoring the licenses that come with subscription services! Take that, Netflix! And while you’re at it, Ebsco, Gale, Lexis, Elsevier, and the other hundreds of vendors libraries get subscription content from. We should all just download articles from all our vendors and send them to whomever wants them. We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!
A lot of library budgets are under pressure these days. One might even say they’re starving for money. And even the blessed St. Thomas agreed that a starving family that takes food isn’t stealing. Thus, a library hungry for DVDs isn’t doing anything wrong by violating their contract with Netflix. After all, if this library didn’t deliberately ignore the terms of service, where would their poor patrons get DVDs? Nowhere, that’s where! And we can’t have that. The end justifies the means, after all.
However, using Netflix for libraries should just be the thin end of the wedge. If you really want to save some money, here are some tips.
- Keep using Netflix.
- Systematically order every DVD in its library in order of your priority.
- Copy the digital file of each one. (And if you think copy protection can’t be bypassed, then you haven’t shopped around for current software.)
- Load them all up on a server.
- Let people download them!
Do the same thing with your CDs as well. Physical stuff just takes up too much space. Just be sure to use some sort of authentication, so that only your patrons can get the videos. That’s what makes it okay! And what are the chances anyone from the movie or recording industry are going to be students at your university or live in your little community?
And there’s more! Do you Netflix-using librarians realize how many videos are already copied and available for free? They’re easy to get. Just download Bittorrent, set up one of your computers for peer-topeer file sharing, and voila! It’s not just movies, either. TV shows, audiobooks, ebooks, there’s no end to the great stuff that available on Bittorrent. Think of all the money you’ll save!
And it’s okay to share files, because they’re free, and you really need the files, and your budget’s small and all. So just do it! The original reasoning was superb, only this time don’t blog about it over at the Webtamer. I mean, it’s okay to do it, because you don’t have much money, and you sure need those videos, and if no one’s prosecuting you, then it must be okay. In fact, it’s definitely okay to do it as long as you don’t get caught, and the easiest way to not get caught is to keep quiet about it. Good luck!