It had no precedent and while Sony’s Betamax format lost out to VHS this groundbreaking US Supreme Court ruling, 30 years ago today, in favor of Betamax is why we can rejoice about much of the technological innovation we benefit from today.
There is much talk today about how the US Supreme Court is set to hear the Aereo lawsuit brought on by broadcasters and the many parallels to the Sony Betamax case. As Aereo CEO + Founder, Chet Kanojia, stated in the company blog:
“This case is critically important not only to Aereo, but to the entire cloud computing and cloud storage industry. The landmark Second Circuit decision in Cablevision provided much needed clarity for the cloud industry and as a result, helped foster massive investment, growth and innovation in the sector. The challenges outlined in the broadcasters’ filing make clear that they are using Aereo as a proxy to attack Cablevision itself and thus, undermine a critical foundation of the cloud computing and storage industry.
“We believe that consumers have a right to use an antenna to access over-the-air television and to make personal recordings of those broadcasts. The broadcasters are asking the Court to deny consumers the ability to use the cloud to access a more modern-day television antenna and DVR. If the broadcasters succeed, the consequences to consumers and the cloud industry are chilling.
What many may not realize is how the Betamax ruling influenced the birth of the digital music industry and helped a little known company, Diamond Multimedia, defeat an RIAA lawsuit against its Rio MP3 player. The year was 1999 and the way we consume music has never been the same since.