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Slate claims:

A Baptist congregation in Indiana plans to cancel its Super Bowl party this weekend, after receiving a threatening letter from the National Football League. NFL officials say the church would have broken the law by charging an admission fee and by screening the game on a TV that exceeds 55 inches.

Is showing the Super Bowl on a television screen over a certain size, to a group, illegal without permission?

Has the NFL, or other relevant authority, ever pursued someone for projecting the Super Bowl on a large screen (in particular, a religious group)?

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US Code Title 17, Chapter 1, § 110. LIMITATIONS ON EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS: EXEMPTION OF CERTAIN PERFORMANCES AND DISPLAYS

(4) performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work otherwise than in a transmission to the public, without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and without payment of any fee or other compensation for the performance to any of its performers, promoters, or organizers, if—

[...lots of other rules...]

if the performance or display is by audiovisual means, any visual portion of the performance or display is communicated by means of a total of not more than 4 audiovisual devices, of which not more than 1 audiovisual device is located in any 1 room, and no such audiovisual device has a diagonal screen size greater than 55 inches, and any audio portion of the performance or display is communicated by means of a total of not more than 6 loudspeakers, of which not more than 4 loudspeakers are located in any 1 room or adjoining outdoor space;

However, private viewing in private house is exempt from these rules, so at home you can have as big TV as you'd like. This includes having a private Super Bowl party at home.

Read more in ArsTechnica: "Will your big-screen Super Bowl party violate copyright law?"

  • Any idea if this is still valid? The Cornell link is dead. I would hope it's been updated, as nearly everyone and their mom has a TV bigger than 55 inches these days. – fredsbend Jan 9 at 19:50

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