Not to get all political, but today is Save Betamax day. (don’t worry, the site isn’t going to go all heavy… but those of us in the US should be aware of these issues that can effect our ability to control what we can or cannot do with TV programming and our PCs)
The short version: We’re organizing a call-in day to Congress on September 14 to oppose new legislation that would undermine the Betamax decision (INDUCE Act).
Here’s why: The Betamax VCR died more than 15 years ago, but the Supreme Court decision that made the Betamax and all other VCRs legal lived on. In Sony vs. Universal (known as the Betamax decision) the Court ruled that because VCRs have legitimate uses, the technology is legal—even if some people use it to copy movies.
Of course, the movie industry was lucky it lost the case against VCRs, because home video soon became Hollywood’s largest source of revenue. And the freedom to use and develop new technology that was protected by the Betamax decision set the stage for the incredible growth in computer technology we’ve seen in the last few decades.