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Showing Super Bowl In a Bar

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I own a bar in New York City (about 2,500 square feet) and was thinking of showing Super Bowl to my patrons this coming Sunday (no cover, naturally). I know that everyone around me is showing the game under the assumption that since it is on the air, there should not be legal repercussions, however, my search has led me to believe that this could be potentially an infringement. I don't have clear citation on this, but one item that seems to pup-up is the size of the screen at not more than 55 inches. I have a projector that shows an image probably in the 100 inch range. Can anyone opine on this, as well as provide citation to the relevant law? I am not a typical sports bar, so do not want to run into legal issues over potentially negligible if any financial benefit.

Thanks,

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A televised sporting event is protected by copyright law.  Copyright law reserves for the owner of the copyright several exclusive rights, one of which is the right to perform the work publicly.  Section 101 of the Copyright Act provides that to "publicly perform" a work means to "perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or . . . to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times."  In short, there is no argument that showing any television program constitutes a public performance.

 

However, section 110 of the Copyright Act (specifically sub-section (5)(B)(ii)) provides that such a public performance in a foodservice or drinking establishment is not illegal as long as (1) the establishment is less than 3,750 square feet, (2) you don't have the game on more than 4 TVs total and more than one per room, (3) no TV is larger than 55 inches, (4) you have no more than 6 speakers total (and not more than 4 in any room), and (5) you don't charge simply to be present for the transmission (i.e., no cover charge).  Obviously, you wouldn't show the game if you didn't think it would create a financial benefit (i.e., folks coming to your bar to watch the game and buy beer and food).  That's ok as long as you follow these rules.

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Thanks for the reply and citation. Unfortunately I cannot size-down my screen so I'll just play it safe and not show it. I can pass all other tests, but too much risk to get dinged on technicality. Thanks again.

 

A.

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55" is usually a round-up for measurement of actual viewing screen size.

Just get a 50 or 45", cheap enough now, and rock the house with it and your 4 super duper speakers (3.1 surround)

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