FBI Warnings on Home Video and how it's "private use" affect my bar business.

Can I show movies released to VHS or DVD at my bar legally? Furthermore, can I advertise (in print or on a chalkboard) the fact that I’m playing that movie on my TV?

Nope. If you were to read the complete warning it will say the movie is for private viewing only and is not for public consumption. A community college near me had to shut down their free movie night after being threatened with a lawsuit.

When my daughter was younger, she attended an after-school day care program at her elementary school, and they occassionally showed Disney and other kid-type videos on rainy days. They had to stop doing it when they were threatened with a lawsuit.
The basis was that since the kids paid to attend the day care, they were “paying” to watch the videos. Frigging ridiculous, IMHO.

However in that rationale people are not paying to see the movie on the tv in a bar…they are paying for the Gin and Tonic in front of them. When I lived in Phoenix there was a bar called Everything 80’s and they constantly had ONLY movies from the 80’s playing on the tv in the background…So you could talk to your buddy next to you or watch Clint Eastwood in :Any Which Way But Loose" on the tv behind the bar…

I think in bars you are OK. I moved back to CT so I don’t know if the bar is still there in Phoenix.

If you tune to a radio station that is playing recorded music, and it is loud enough that more than two employees can hear it, you are in violation. Unless you have a license.

If you play that music over your phones as on-hold music, you are in violation.

Got cites for this? Not that I doubt you, but I’m having some trouble locating the relevant legal information.

I believe the correct answer is actually yes, but you have to pay a royalty or aquire some kind of a public performance licenced copy for the video in question. I believe many cable companies offer a “public viewing” version of their service for an immensely inflated fee. Several places around me advertise their “Sopranos
night” or run football games via NFL ticket and ESPN or the occasional boxing match.

Q.E.D. the use of a radio as hold music issue was discussed here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=176152&highlight=hold+music

Basically, because the hold music is transmitted beyond the establishment (via the phone line) where received you must have a license or be in violation of US Code Title 17, Section 110.

However, more than 2 employees may listen to the music. It depends on the establishment but it looks like you can have up to 6 speakers and the business must be under 2000 sq feet…check out Title 17 section 110 for more info.

Thanks. I thought that 2 employee rule sounded strange. That would be a difficult thing to define accurately.

Why not call your local cable tv company & ask them what bar programming deals they have? Tons of bars have cable tv.