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.