Sony to press appeal in unfair-taping suit

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Sony Corporation, maker of the Betamax home video recorder, said Tuesday it plans to fight an appeals court decision that some 3.5 million American households are violating copyright laws by taping their favorite TV programs and that manufacturers may be liable for damages.

Monday's far-reaching ruling by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals said Universal Studios and Walt Disney Productions had the right to sue Sony, four retailers, an advertising agency, and a viewer over what they called unfair taping of copyright TV shows.

The three-member panel said the ''fair use'' doctrine, which allows use of copyright materials for teaching, news reporting, scholarship, research, and other noncompetitive uses, did not include home video recording - even for personal enjoyment.$

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