Recently there’s been a lot of upset about MP3s killing the music industry. It’s a fair point – MP3s are rubbish quality when compared to CDs and they make piracy one heck of a lot easier. On the other hand, there is a legal precedent for this kind of situation – the Betamax case.
The what? Well, it was a lawsuit, Sony Corporation of America VS Universal City Studios, Inc. You can read the full draft here, but I’m certainly not going to – it’s incredibly long and pretty much indecipherable. For the rest of us, there’s this summary.
In the end, the court ruled that it wasn’t copyright infringement to tape a home recording of a TV programme, and that Sony could not be held responsible for any infringement that did result from the use of video recorders.