January 17, 1984 - The U.S. Supreme Court decides Sony v. Universal, finding that Sony was shielded from copyright liability arising from infringing uses of its Betamax video recording device where such device was capable of substantial non-infringing uses. This decision has allowed device manufacturers and service providers to flourish in the digital era. Perhaps the most important technology law case in this country’s history.
February 8, 1996 - President Clinton signs the Communications Decency Act into law, creating a safe harbor that provides broad (but not unlimited) protection for interactive computer service providers from liability arising from information posted by a third party. Thanks to this safe harbor, bloggers and website operators are not routinely driven out of business by defamation lawsuits arising from user-posted comments, no matter how outrageous those comments may be...
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