The Supreme Court's ruling in Sony v. Universal Studios (aka the Betamax case) is a landmark copyright precedent that has sheltered a wide array of technology innovators from lawsuits at the hands of the entertainment industries. In 1984 the Court held that a company -- in this instance a VCR manufacturer -- was not liable for creating a technology that some customers may use for copyright infringing purposes so long as the technology is capable of substantial non-infringing uses. In other words where a technology has many uses the public cannot be denied the lawful uses just because some (or many or most) may use the product to infringe copyrights.
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