January 17, 1984


On January 17, 1984, the US Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that private use of home VCRs to tape TV programs for later viewing did not violate federal copyright laws, thereby preventing every current and future American from becoming a felon. Chief Justice Warren Burger said that turning an entire generation of Americans into pirates over something that is sent free over the airways would have unintended, childish results. Having grown men and women saying ‘Arggh’, ‘Avast, ye mateys’, and “Thar she blows’, would just be silly, but he did agree that having a pet parrot might be fun.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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