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Library and Church Game Nights Violate game licences
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Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:34 am Reply and quote this post
While libraries and church groups are increasingly turning to videogame events in order to attract teens, such get-togethers may havecopyright implications, according to the School Library Journal.
Check out this Q&A posted yesteday:


Lots of school and public libraries are hosting gaming tournaments, featuring popular video games like Guitar Hero and Madden Football. Since these games are intended for home use, isn’t that similar to purchasing a movie and showing it to a large audience?

Everyoneseems to be asking that question! Video games come with licensingagreements, and before purchasers can play the games, they must agreeto their terms. The video-game licenses that I’ve seen are strictly for“personal, noncommercial” uses—not public ones. So when libraries hostgaming programs, they’re violating these agreements. Yet, lots oflibraries are doing just that—and they’re getting away with it. Andsome are even charging an admission fee to attend these events. Whatgives?

My guess is that video-game distributors neveranticipated their games would be used publicly. So when their lawyersdrafted the licenses, they simply used language commonly found insoftware contracts...

Librarians can: (1) continue tooffer video-game competitions and let the chips fall where they may;(2) contact the rights holders and ask if their licenses can bemodified to accommodate your programs; or (3) email the rights holdersand tell them you’re opting out of the portion of the contract thatallows only home use—and unless they tell you not to, you’re planningto offer gaming tournaments.

IVI:It's a fascinating question. Game publishers would look like bigmeanies if they tried to enforce this, of course. On the other hand, Ibelieve that Internet cafes pay for some type of multi-user license forsome online games.
UPDATE: A well-informed video game industry source dropped GP a line, offering some insight on this story:

Formotion pictures, schools, libraries, and other institutions getlicenses to exhibit the movies. It's pretty straightforward and no-oneseems to have a major problem with it. See and I'm not aware of similar services for video gaming. Probably should be.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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