Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.

Citation: 464 U.S. 417
Docket Number: 81-1687
Judge: Stevens
Opinion Date: January 17, 1984

Universal brought an action against Sony alleging that video tape recorder (VTRs) consumers had been recording some of Universal’s copyrighted works that had been exhibited on commercially sponsored television and thereby infringed on their copyrights, and further that Sony was liable for such copyright infringement because of their marketing of the VTRs. The District Court denied Universal all relief, holding that noncommercial home use recording of material broadcast over the public airwaves was a fair use of copyrighted works and did not constitute copyright infringement, and that Sony could not be held liable as contributory infringers even if the home use of a VTR was considered an infringing use. The Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the Appeals Court.

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