New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 18, 1984, New Braunfels, Texas
Wednesday, January 18,1884 9A
Home video battle shifts to Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) - The focus now shifts to Congress in the big-stakes battle to decide whether millions of Americans may have to pay extra to use increasingly popular home video recorders to tape television shows.
The motion picture industry, which suffered a major setback Tuesday before the Supreme Court, is expected to look to Congress for help in obtaining a share of the profits from the billion dollar home video recorder industry.
If the movie studios are ultimately successful, it could mean a stiff royalty that would be passed on to consumers as a tax on video recorders and blank tapes.
But meanwhile, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, ruled that the sale and use of home video recorders to tape TV shows for later, private viewing is
Some members of Congress expressed doubt that federal copyright law will be amended to benefit the movie makers.
Rep. Robert W. Kastenmeier, D-Wis., chairman of a House Judiciary subcommittee that is looking into the matter, said he doubts Congress will penalize viewers for taping television shows.
But Rep. Don Edwards, D-Calif., acknowledging “it’s an unpopular position,” said he will pursue his proposal to force manufacturers and importers of video recorders and tapes to pay a royalty to be split among copyright owners. Such royalties ultimately benefit consumers by encouraging more production of quality programs, Edwards said.
The court said recorder
manufacturers may not be held responsible for possible illegal use of the video recorders, such as taping copyright productions for commercial profit.
Justice John Paul Stevens, in his opinion for the court, wrote that there is another remedy for this so-called “armchair piracy.”
Stevens noted that anyone who reproduces copyright material for private financial gain can be sentenced to one year in prison and fined $25,000 for the first violation. The penalty is two years and $50,000 for repeat offenders. But Stevens said that taping television shows, even copyright ones, for private viewing at a later time is legal.
Kenji Tamiya, president of Sony Corp. of America, hailed the court ruling as “an important victory for consumers.”JUDGE J.P. STEVENS
.. .authored opinion
Nearly one of every IO American families now owns a video recorder.
U.S. sales of video recorders now surpass 9 million machines worth nearly $2 billion.
There are expected to be 40 million in American homes bv 1990.
Reagan aide sees no progress
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Reagan’s representative at medium-range missile reduction talks says the administration is considering ways to lure the Soviet Union back to negotiations, but says he sees no progress in getting the stalled talks going.
Paul Nitze, the arms negotiator, said the United States was studying whether “there are things that we could do to make it easier for them to return to the negotiations, without making improper concessions.”
Nitze also said that the anticipated
Soviet deployment of new missiles in eastern Europe “doesn’t really make that much difference,” and that he sees no move toward combining the rnedium-range weapons talks and others intended to reduce the U.S. and Soviet stockpiles of long-range nuclear weapons.
“I don't think that would be in the interests of the United States,” he said, adding that the Soviets had not advanced such a proposal.
Nitze spoke with reporters Tuesday afternoon after conferring with Reagan on the breakdown of the talks
he had been conducting in Geneva, Switzerland, with Soviet representatives.
The meeting, one day after Reagan called on the Soviet Union to return to the talks and said in a speech that 1984 offered “opportunities for peace,” gave the president an opportunity to review the lack of progress in curbing medium-range nuclear-tipped missiles in Europe.
The Soviets have refused to set a date for resuming the negotiations since the new U.S. missiles were deployed in Western Europe as part of
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's force modernization. The Soviets walked out of the talks on Nov. 23.
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said the president’s speech offered “an improvement in the tone of U.S.-Soviet relations” consistent with the tone of a private, handwritten letter that Reagan wrote to the late Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev early in the Reagan administration.
Speakes took issue with suggestions that the address was related to domestic politics.Slain educator tried to keep school 'apolitical'
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — Malcolm Kerr, assassinated today at the American University of Beirut, grew up here in a faculty family. A colleague said Kerr and the school he headed were “the most visible American institutions” in the city.
The slaying of Kerr, 52, the university’s ninth president and a specialist in Middle Eastern politics, was “shattering,” said Fred Bent, a visiting professor from New York’s Cornell University.
“AUB and Kerr are the most visible American institutions here,” Bent said. “If anyone wants to shatter this, Kerr is someone who represents the Americans.”
Kerr was born in Beirut on Oct. 8,1931. His father was a professor of biochemistry at the university’s medical school, and his mother was dean of women students.
The university has graduated many Arab prime ministers and presidents since its founding by Presbyterian missionaries in 1866 as the Syrian Protestant College.
But the school, chartered by New York state, is now nonsectarian and its students are Christian and Moslem.
The sign over the main entrance reads: “That they may have life and have it more abundantly.”
Kerr received his masters degree at the university and taught there from 1958 to 1961. For the next 20 years, he was a professor of political science at the University of California at Los Angeles. He interrupted his stay in I^os Angeles to teach at the Beirut campus again in the 1965-66 academic year.
The wooded, 73-acre campus overlooks the Mediterranean and the ruins of the U.S. Embassy, wrecked by a bomb in April, and has been largely regarded as an island of calm in this violence-torn city.
Yet Kerr noted in a recent interview with The Associated Press that there have been numerous disruptions by student strikes, building occupations, among other incidents. “We fear violence on the campus for itself and for its disruption of the academic process,” he said.
To discourage violence, Kerr instituted a policy this year requiring all entering students to sign a pledge that they would not participate in political activities on the campus.
“We are desperately trying to keep the campus apolitical,” he said.
Kerr took his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and held a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.
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