The Importance Of The Betamax Precedent

from the missing-the-point dept

By now, most people are quite familiar with the old Supreme Court “Betamax” ruling that said that a technology was legal as long as it had “substantial non-infringing uses.” That’s the standard under which many technologies we use today have been developed – and now it’s under attack by the entertainment industry. Lawyers for the entertainment industry insist they’re not trying to reverse the Betamax precedent, but to just set some limits on it. Supporters of the original decision say the entertainment industry still has always been looking for ways to get around the Betamax decision (and did so partially via the DMCA). What the article forgets to point out however, is the biggest joke in all of this: the entertainment industry that battled so hard against the Betamax decision was, by far, the biggest beneficiary of that decision. The fact that they still won’t admit they made a mistake twenty years ago, and that maybe, just maybe, opening up technologies leads to more opportunities to profit shows just how short sighted the industry is. They’re trying to kill off a legal ruling that has helped them generate billions of dollars each year.

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Comments on “The Importance Of The Betamax Precedent”

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thecaptain says:

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Mike, you seem to be forgetting something tho.

If the should succeed in overturning or circumventing the precedent, they WON’T LOSE the billions they made BECAUSE of it…the technology is there, under their control and they will continue making billions from it, that won’t change.

What WILL change though, is that they’ll finally be able to “legally” go after technologies they do NOT control and make NO money (right now) from…ie: P2P and DECSS. With that power they won’t have to try and figure out how to live and grow with it…they’ll simply arrest and sue the little guys out of existence and continue with their virtual monopoly.

The don’t have to admit they are wrong…because in their minds, they aren’t.

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