Organization Launches Two-Week Celebration of Betamax-Protected Devices

San Francisco, CA - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) yesterday 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.


Annalee Newitz
Policy Analyst
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Ren Bucholz
Activism Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation

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