CATEGORIES Disney, Paramount, Universal, Tech Stuff, 20th Century Fox, Home Entertainment, Features, Movie News, CinematicalLast week, I reported that four movie studios are suing Cablevision over copyright issues regarding the cable company's planned DVR service. Now Cablevision has filed a counter-suit to defend itself, claiming that the service is protected by the ruling in the Sony Betamax video case. In case you don't remember, or are too young to have heard, Sony was sued by Universal and Walt Disney 30 years ago over their Betamax machines. The case went for many years and Sony eventually won in 1984, although by that time it had lost the video format war to VHS. Anyway, Cablevision is claiming their service is no different than a home video recorder, or VCR. The studios original suit claims the difference is that Cablevision's customers will not be storing the video data in their homes.
Imagine if Sony hadn't won their case and not only were we never able to rent videos, but Hollywood never built the billion-dollar business they now depend on. I think that looking back, the studios should reconsider further attempts to hinder the advances of entertainment technology. Video-on-Demand and Digital Video Recorders are the future, whether Hollywood likes it initially or not.