In 1982 the MPAA (The Guys behind SOPA and now CISPA) Sought to Outlaw the VCR

Disruptive technologies are just that – disruptive. Cars killed the buggy whip companies. But some of those companies probably started making auto accessories. I’ll bet even a few of them thrived. Change happens.

The point is disruption is a natural thing and one of the most important parts of a market economy. New technologies rise, and with them new leaders and new wealth, only to be replaced by newer technologies and newer leaders after that. The firms that can negotiate the transitions become legends. Those which do not become footnotes, for the most part.

American history is full of efforts by industry to protect itself from change, but dynamism in the economy need not be feared. With dynamism comes opportunity. The Motion Picture Association of America should remember this. The industry may have to change, sorry about that.

I wonder what the vaudeville lobby thought of movies back in the day? George Burns made it in both media. The geniuses in Hollywood should have no problem.

“We are going to bleed and bleed and hemorrhage, unless this Congress at least protects one industry that is able to retrieve a surplus balance of trade and whose total future depends on its protection from the savagery and the ravages of this machine…. I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” – Jack Valenti MPAA Head

Click here for more on the now humble, but in the early 1980s revolutionary, VCR.