Mister Rogers is a true hero, and not just of children and fans of his show, but of all of us who ‘tape’ TV shows when we can’t be at home to watch it live, or so that we may save and watch it over and over again!
Do you remember the Supreme Court case “Universal Studios vs. Sony Corporation of America”? Also known as the Betamax case, it revolved around the videocassette recorder by Sony of the same name. It called into question the legality of taping copyrighted movies or television series.
Though you don’t see many videocassette recorders today, it’s not because the case in favor of the Betamax turned awry, but because the digital revolution took hold and the VCR became outdated. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sony in 1983, stating that recording shows, originally broadcasted on television was ‘fair use’. much of their decision based on a testimony by children’s show host Mister Rogers
Here’s what he said! “I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the ‘Neighborhood’ off-the-air…they then become much more active in the programming of their family’s television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been ‘You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions’…I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important.”
The last line is a general maxim that is a good point of reference when deciding if something (in this case, the VCR) should be available for all to use.
The song Crimson and Clover kept playing in my mind while writing, owing to the subject matter. Take a listen, why don’t cha!
This article was inspired by an article in Mental Floss.