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Monday, June 09, 2014

How the VCR Wiped out Movies and Television

Tim Taylor:

How the VCR Wiped out Movies and Television: Perhaps you don't quite remember this event. But back in 1982, the videocassette recorder was just about about to wipe out the movie industry, and probably also the television industry. We know this is true because of the April 12, 1982, Congressional testimony from Jack Valenti, then the President of the Motion Picture Association of America, given in hearings before the House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice.

Valenti was arguing in favor of a bill that would allow a charge to be imposed on all makers of VCRs and blank videotapes, most of which were at that time made by Japanese firms, with the proceeds to be distributed to the U.S. film and television industry. If you need a reminder to be skeptical when business leaders prophecy doom and gloom if their industry has to adapt to new technology, here's a sample of the rhetoric from Valenti. It's a minor classic in the genre of special interest pleading, in which an industry is about experience worse than a tidal wave, worse than an avalanche, but indeed a jungle, where it will hemorrhage and bleed and be strangled--but the industry's real concern, as we all know, is that it just wants to protect the old and the poor and the sick. ...

    Posted by on Monday, June 9, 2014 at 11:43 AM Permalink  Comments (17)

          


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