During recent floor meetings, some RAs have been telling their residents that they will not allow more than 3.4 people in a room watching the Super Bowl.
Krystal Schofield, Director of Residence Life, says the topic of copyright law first came up in RA training. RAs were being further educated on copyright laws and how it applied to their jobs, not specifically for the Super Bowl.
"Some RAs were looking for hard facts on how many people could view an event in a room and it still be considered a private showing," she said.
The concern with the NFL's copyright cops descending on a dorm room where 4 people are watching the Super Bowl is absurd on multiple levels. First, as attorney Marc John Randazza of the Legal Satyricon correctly points out, copyright law does not prohibit private performances, and there is no magic number that transforms a private performance into a public one.
In addition, even if some University of Tampa Super Bowl party were to be deemed "public," something called the "homestyle exemption," found at 17 U.S.C. § 110(5)(A), provides additional protection from a copyright suit. The homestyle exemption basically says that it's not copyright infringement for a business to stick a normal TV (the kind you might put in your own home) on the wall, as long as the business doesn't charge a specific fee to watch. Slate had a pretty good "Explainer" on this last Super Bowl; here's another example of the homestyle exemption in practice (actually, an example where a court found that the exemption did not apply).
So, University of Tampa students, put away those chainsaws; no need to cut out .6 of your fourth roommate.