In a Public Space, TV May Not Be Free

In a Public Space, TV May Not Be Free Pedro Salaverria

To help keep customers occupied in waiting rooms, businesses may have a television or be thinking about putting one in. But as Brett Snider explains on FindLaw’s Free Enterprise, just because it’s free to watch a broadcast doesn’t mean you can make money by letting other people view it.

How can you avoid TV-related copyright infringement suits? Snider says business owners planning to show content from cable can sign up for a business account that covers commercial licenses to air such programming.

However, he says when it comes to free over-the-air TV broadcasts, owners could be setting themselves up for a federal suit. Almost all broadcast TV is copyrighted content, he says, and can only be watched in certain commercial circumstances without violating copyright laws.

“Food service and drinking establishments” are given wider berth to broadcast free TV, he says, but generally speaking, the TV-viewing area can’t be larger than 2,000 square feet. In addition, Snider says no office can publicly display free over-the-air broadcasts on a screen bigger than 55 inches (diagonal).

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