Thursday, February 14, 2013

You Know You're Getting Legally Old When....

I'm teaching a class on computer law and the night's lecture is on cyberspace and copyrights.

I begin with a general overview of copyrights and then start talking about the Sony safe-harbor decision.

The Sony Safe Harbor rule, which sprang out of the case of Sony v Universal Studios, essentially summarized, is that if a technological device is capable of mainly non-copyright-infringing uses, then it is not banned as a technology just because it might have infringing uses as well. This decision has had a profound effect on computer and home entertainment technology. In fact, the decision, so bitterly opposed by the MPAA, has resulted in their making massive revenues off the sale first of movies on Betamax and VHS tapes, and then on laser disc and DVDs.

Sadly, None of the law students in the class knew what the namesake of the safe harbor rule, the Sony Betamax even was.

None of them currently own a VCR.

At least all of them knew what Napster was, so we could analyze how the courts ruled that it didn't fit the Sony safe harbor.

Ah, a bunch of kids and Baby Sharks, the lot of them.


Murphy's Law said...

Damn kids.

I remember dating a girl somewhat younger than myself who had no idea who The Bandit was or why Smokey was chasing him. Pissed me right off, it did.

Expatriate Owl said...

A few weeks ago, when our rabbi said "I sound like a broken record," the meaning of that phrase had to be explained to some of the adolescent kids who were present.

And how many from that younger group understand the derivation of the word "dial" in the context of a telephone number?

And don't even touch anything with Morse Code!

Scott said...

Heh! How about Joe Mannix? That reference came up today (in a gunstore, no less!). As in "Joe Mannix shooting a guy off the watertower with a 2" snubby - that just doesn't happen in the real world."

That's current culture and not technology, but it's the same idea.