A Baltimore businessman who plans to market videocassettes through vending machines will take his company public in an effort to raise $4.1 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

James P. Paris, the founder of DataVend Inc., wants to sell and rent videocassettes using a network of computer-controlled vending machines that DataVend will place in supermarkets, drugstores, office buildings and other locations in the Baltimore and Washington areas.

A central computer will monitor the machines' revenue, determine required inventory and schedule restocking. The vending machines will accept only credit-card payment for the sale and rental of its cassettes, according to the SEC filing, and retailers who install machines in their stores will receive a percentage of DataVend's revenue.

DataVend Inc. said it will sell up to 690,000 units of common stock and warrants through underwriter D.H. Blair & Co. Inc.

The units, valued at $6 each, will consist of three common shares and three class A warrants entitling the investor to buy one more common share and a class B warrant for $3. Investors may exercise the class B warrants to buy an additional common share for $4.50 each, according to the SEC filing.

If all the class A and class B warrants are exercised, the company will raise an additional $15.5 million. DataVend said it will use the proceeds to buy videocassettes, build the vending machines, repay $475,000 in debt and begin marketing.

As of Dec. 31, 1987, DataVend had lost $476,397 on revenue of $3,590 since its founding in July 1985.