Rewinding to Betamax: The path to consumers’ “right to record”

In the spring of 1978, the program guide published by a Los Angeles public television station contained more than just schedules; it told viewers when they could watch its programs—and what they were allowed to do with those programs.

Some programs, the guide showed, could be taped without restriction. For others, viewers could record as long as they followed certain restrictions, such as deleting the recording within seven days. Still other programs shouldn’t be recorded at all, since the copyright holders objected to such recording.