I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile now, and was recently reminded of it through a post on the ALA Think Tank Facebook Group (have you joined yet? Good stuff there).
The discussion at ALA Think Tank was about using copy machines to do illegal things, and someone mentioned the sign many libraries place around the copy machine, reminding customers to please not break the law when using the copy machine.
And that reminded me about this post, which is really just a question: Why don’t we teach our customers how to rip our DVDs, download our music CDs to iTunes, or copy our audiobooks to their favorite digital listening devices?
Hang with me a sec here. Parents, think about how your kids listen to music. They might not own a CD player. They listen using iTunes or Google Play (or some similar smartphone app).
How about movies? My family usually streams Netflix movies or rents from iTunes. We DO have a DVD player and use it once in awhile. If the DVD is scratched, it will skip in the player … but sometimes ripping it, dumping it into iTunes, and watching it using my AppleTV fixes that problem.
And what if we’re going on a trip, and want to watch 3-4 movies in the car? We don’t own a portable DVD player … but we DO own an iPad.
Yes, you can guess what we do.
And that relates directly back to your library, because a growing percentage of your customers listen and watch media using mobile devices.
That growing reality makes me wonder if we should teach customers how to use software tools like iTunes or Handbrake? With a disclaimer attached, just like in the days of the heavily used library copy machines – “Here’s how to use the copy machine. Just don’t do anything illegal” (knowing full well what some of those customers were doing).
What do you think? Should we:
- Teach customers the best way to copy our library content to their favorite digital listening/viewing device (and teach them how to delete it when they’re done, too)?
- Continue to offer easily downloaded CDs and DVDs, and just assume some customers will figure out how to burn the discs?
- Something else entirely?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Image from slipperybrick.com