Using Rhapsody in public libraries

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  • I'm sure the answer to this is no, but what the heck, I'm going to ask anyway. If a public library were to purchase a subscription to an online music provider like Rhapsody to Go, would it be legal to burn a CD and circulate it? I read the licensing agreement for Rhapsody, which basically says CDs are for personal use only, but how to interpret personal use if a library purchased the subscription?
    Just looking for some way to minimize the cost of replacing lost, stolen, and damaged CDs. Thanks.
  • Interesting question. For this specific situation, I would say that it is probably not likely to be able to take those actions because it would seem to go against the terms of service.

    If the library received a CD that was legitimately purchased and transferred to the library, I believe the library could circulate it. However, the terms of service for the Rhapsody service in this case (and most digital music providers) would seem to forbit this type of use. Note that there are actually two licenses for Rhapsody- the End-User License Agreement and the Terms of Service for the Rhapsody Service.

    The terms of service in this case make it a point to note that the music is licensed, not sold, which would seem to be an attempt to make sure that the doctrine of first sale does not apply (they even use "purchase" in quotes when they refer to purchasing a track). If first sale does not apply, then libraries cannot lend out the material without negotiating a means to do so in contractual or license form, even if "you" in this case is an institution. The license for the Rhapsody service specifically states that "you" cannot use, rent, etc. the tracks for others.

    I am not a lawyer, however, and it is possible some or all of these licenses are unenforceable or not valid in your jurisdiction, so I'm not completely certain.

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