Fred Rogers is the man!

From Larry Lessig’s Free Culture:

[A] court in California had held that the VCR could be banned because it was a copyright-infringing technology: It enabled consumers to copy films without the permission of the copyright owner. No doubt there were uses of the technology that were legal: Fred Rogers, aka “Mr. Rogers,” for example, had testified in that case that he wanted people to feel free to tape /Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood/.

“Some public stations, as well as commercial stations, program the “Neighborhood” at hours when some children cannot use it. I think that it’s a real service to families to be able to record such programs and show them at appropriate times. I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the “Neighborhood” off-the-air, and I’m speaking for the “Neighborhood” because that’s what I produce, that they then become much more active in the programming of their family’s television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been “You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.” Maybe I’m going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important.” [23]

23. /Sony Corporation of America/ v. /Universal City Studios, Inc.,/ 464 U.S. 417, 455 fn. 27 (1984). Rogers never changed his view about the VCR. See James Lardner, /Fast Forward: Hollywood, the Japanese, and the Onslaught of the VCR/ (New York: W. W. Norton, 1987), 270-71.

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