Universal City Studios ( Universal ) Essay

738 WordsNov 12, 20153 Pages
Universal City Studios (Universal), composed of several copyright holders, sued Sony Corporation of America (Sony) for contributory copyright infringement for its dissemination of their Betamax video tape record (Betamax), which allowed users to record programs to view later, at the time they are televised, a practice known as time shifting. The purpose of this technology is at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ultimate decision that contributory infringement cannot be imposed on Sony for the reasons outlined below. Before reaching the Supreme Court, this case was heard by the federal district court, which held in favor of Sony. Universal then appealed this decided to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the federal district courts decision and held that Universal is entitled to enjoin the distribution of the Betamax. Contributory infringement revolves around the concept that an entity can be held liable for the infringement of another if they have materially contributed to the infringing actions. In this case, Universal is alleging that Sony has conducted contributory infringement because they knew that the users of the Betamax could engage in infringing activity by record programs that Universal held exclusive rights to. The U.S. Supreme Court is tasked with deciding if the Betamax could be used for “commercially significant non-infringing purposes.” The first use the Supreme Court examines is authorized time shifting. Time shifting is considered by
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