Ah, the days of tracking, rewinding, and trips to Blockbuster. In honor of VCR Day, take a look back at a brief history of the videocassette recorder.
The VCR was invented in 1956, but it took until the 1970s to be mass produced for the general public. While some people preferred Betamax, VCRs revolutionized media, changed television-watching habits, and posed the first major copyright challenges.
The invention of the VCR particularly threatened the movie industry, which was already feeling pressure from the increasing popularity of television shows. In the landmark 1984 case, the Supreme Court ruled that the making of individual copies of complete television shows, otherwise known as "time-shifting," does not constitute copyright infringement, but is fair use.
But just as quickly as the VCR changed how we consumed media at home, it gave way to the DVD player and streaming video.
Today, children have no idea of the significance of the phrase, "Be kind, rewind." For them, the VCR is a peculiar contraption that is foreign and puzzling. Watching kids struggle to understand how to use one makes for an amusing moment for those of us that once used them so frequently.
Happy VCR Day!