EFF this week kicked off a new campaign to celebrate the technological diversity protected by the Supreme Court’s 1984 “Betamax ruling,” which found that vendors cannot be held liable for contributory copyright infringement if their products are capable of significant noninfringing (legal) uses. EFF will post information about a copying technology with substantial legal uses every weekday leading up to the March 29th Supreme Court hearing in MGM v. Grokster. Noninfringing products include everything from the VCR and email to blogs and silly putty.
If the Supreme Court overturns the Ninth Circuit ruling in the Grokster case, the Betamax shield could be destroyed or modified in ways that threaten innovation. Vendors could be held liable for the infringing activities of their customers, and many companies could be sued out of existence. EFF is co-counsel for StreamCast Networks, one of the defendants in the Grokster case.
With its celebration of the technologies protected under the Betamax shield, EFF hopes to call the public’s attention to the strong link between innovation and legal protections for inventors and entrepreneurs.
There’s a sendoff party in SF for the EFF lawyers going to DC to fight this case for us, but the part we can all get involved in is the CopyNight meetups on March 29:
Cocktails and copyright? Mashups and martinis? CopyNight.org is organizing parties across the country on the evening of the Supreme Court arguments in MGM v. Grokster.
Details about the Warren CopyNight will be forthcoming.