From The TV IV
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Betamax is a recording and playback format for video cassette recorders. Invented in 1975 by Sony, it was generally considered a superior format, but was soon overshadowed by VHS due to better marketing and a more lenient licensing program.
Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios
Betamax has a significant role in history due to what it now known as the "Betamax" case, where the Supreme Court decided that VCRs were legal since they had substantial non-infringing uses (such as recording programs for personal viewing at a later time than their broadcast — known as time-shifting).