This loophole allows certain types of establishments to be considered “homey” and hence exempt from public performance while they show live broadcast television. The law’s exclusion was a special concession to the restaurant and food/beverage sectors, who benefited greatly from it.
The homestyle exception, on the other hand, only applies to broadcasts. If your neighborhood bar or restaurant uses cable, satellite, or fiber, as many do, they won’t be able to show big-screen video without first obtaining permissions. Which, let’s face it, there’s a decent probability they haven’t done.
Of course, because GigaOm is a tech publication, they’re considering the future. Sure, cable and satellite providers aren’t on board. But what about media on the internet? Isn’t it the future now?
It may be the future, but new technologies follow ancient rules. Netflix, Hulu, and Apple, like their coaxial peers, only allow personal, noncommercial use.
As GigaOm points out, this is both a practical and philosophical issue: “Netflix and Apple must pay the content source for a license in order to serve the video to their users.” The more limited the license, the less expensive it is.”
Verizon and Comcast aren’t going door to door in every neighborhood, double-checking that every license is a properly paid commercial license with all of its i’s crossed and t’s crossed. However, you still have a chance of being detected, and if you are, your decision-making becomes penny-wise and pound-foolish in the worst way. It’s a danger, much like doing 75 on a stretch of interstate with a 65 speed limit, even if everyone else seems to be doing it.
And, because to the joy of statutory damages that a judge might impose, it’s a surprisingly significant danger. According to GigaOm, one restaurant owner was fined $32,000 for showing just one pay-per-view UFC match in his establishment.
Is it permissible to utilize streaming services in a bar?
The problem is that when TV channels are intended to be displayed in public venues such as restaurants, content owners levy an additional price. This is why commercial consumers pay more for television than residential ones. Because of the greater prices, they are able to display cable channels in areas such as restaurants. Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW claim that they are unable to offer a plan that includes the charge at this time.
“The Netflix service, including any content watched through our service, are for your personal and non-commercial use only,” says the Netflix terms of service.
So, no, most streaming services cannot legally be used to broadcast live television in businesses such as restaurants. There have even been lawsuits filed against eateries that have failed to pay the required fees. To our knowledge, no lawsuits have been filed over the use of on-demand services like Netflix, although that does not rule out the possibility.
However, there is some good news in the form of the launch of business-friendly streaming services by several streaming businesses. Chive Media Group, for example, has established streaming services aimed at enterprises. Atmosphere is a streaming service by Chive Media Group that provides material for use in restaurants and waiting areas.
There are methods for providing entertainment in your waiting room, but if you want to show ESPN or CNN, you’ll need cable TV for the time being.
Many businesses now show Netflix or employ a service like Sling TV, but they fear legal repercussions down the future.
Please confirm with the streaming company you plan to use before you streaming a service at work for public watching.
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Is it okay if I watch TV at my restaurant?
While many small business owners believe that their own personal cable or satellite plan can be utilized to broadcast cable television in their restaurants, this is illegal under federal law.
According to The Southeast Texas Record, a Texas small business owner was sued by satellite provider DirecTV in March for showing satellite TV in her restaurant because her firm was purportedly utilizing a household account.
Along with controlling cable operators’ behavior, the Cable Communications Policy Act also prohibits “help in intercepting or receiving” cable communications for illegal viewers. This includes not just allowing your neighbors to steal your cable TV, but also allowing customers at a restaurant to watch your cable TV.
In a bar, where do you put the TV?
Televisions must be placed where they will be seen the most. Keep in mind that those who are too close to the screen (for example, in booths directly beneath it) will not be able to see it. In addition to above central bars, corners are generally ideal. You’ll need fewer televisions if your location is good.
Is it possible to watch TV at the workplace?
For example, “food service and drinking enterprises” are granted more leeway when it comes to broadcasting free TV, but in general, a free TV viewing area cannot exceed 2,000 square feet. Furthermore, no office can show free over-the-air broadcasting on a TV screen larger than 55 inches in public (diagonal).
If you’re unsure about these possibilities or want to learn more about how your company can legally use over-the-air TV, speak with a local communications/media lawyer right now.
Is it okay if I watch Netflix at my restaurant?
Netflix now has more customers in the United States than HBO, at 31 million. Is it, however, permissible to show Netflix in your workplace?
Most likely not. While sharing your Netflix account with six other family members or friends may be acceptable, commercial use of a Netflix account is almost certainly forbidden.
Is it possible for a restaurant to show the Super Bowl?
The main federal statute on infringement exclusions specifies distinct exceptions depending on the type of business.
If you own a “food service or drinking business” with a floor space of less than 3,750 square feet and want to show the Super Bowl at your bar or restaurant, you probably won’t be able to:
If you keep your Super Bowl watching area to less than 3,750 square feet in pubs and restaurants larger than 3,750 square feet, you may escape a lawsuit.
The same rules apply to establishments that do not serve food or drinks, except that the viewing area is limited to 2,000 square feet. As a result, electronics stores may wish to dedicate only one portion of the store to the big game (and only on a maximum of four reasonsably sized TVs).
- For the Super Bowl, the NFL has pulled the plug on big-screen church parties (The Washington Post)
In a bar, how high should a TV be?
According to the data above, the appropriate height is more important for those who are closest to the television because their viewing angle is the shortest. Take into account the following:
- Patrons standing 14′ from the bar can view the middle of the TV screen considerably easier than those seated at the bar (approximately 5′ from the screen), as seen in FIGURE 1.
- The TV should also be leaned forward slightly when installed to optimize the viewing angle; for many TVs, this angle is between 5-8 degrees.
- Set the bottom of the TV at 90″ above the finished floor and tilt it between 5 and 8 degrees for most bars and sports bars (forward).
- Most televisions will function best if they are positioned within this range. In addition to the foregoing, the image quality of flat screen TVs degrades as the lateral viewing angle approaches 35 degrees.
Because a single line of TVs cannot sufficiently serve the needs of a huge audience, the best approach to serve a large crowd is to install TVs on many walls, as illustrated in the photo below.