This Day in History

  • US Supreme Court Declares Home VCRs Legal (1984)
    on January 17, 2021 at 5:00 am

    After Sony introduced the Betamax home video tape recorder in the mid-1970s, Universal Studios sued, alleging that Betamax facilitated copyright infringement by allowing users to make copies of television programs. After an eight-year legal battle, the US Supreme Court ruled that using the new technology to "time-shift" one's television viewing constituted fair use. By then, Betamax had been eclipsed by the VHS format. What later case concerned the "space-shifting" of media? Discuss

  • Prohibition Era Begins in the US (1920)
    on January 16, 2021 at 5:00 am

    By January of 1919, members of the US temperance movement had been campaigning against excessive drinking for a century. Their efforts resulted in the 18th Amendment, which, when it went into effect in 1920, prohibited the sale—but not the consumption—of liquor. Prohibition spawned what John D. Rockefeller called "a vast army of lawbreakers" who profited from the illegal sale of alcohol, and the failed ban was repealed in 1933. What was delivered to the White House immediately after the repeal?

  • Otho Begins His 3-Month Reign as Roman Emperor (69 CE)
    on January 15, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Otho and Roman Emperor Nero were once friends. Then, Otho's wife became Nero's mistress, and Nero dispatched Otho to the remote province of Lusitania. After patiently governing the province for a decade, Otho joined a revolt against the emperor in 68 CE. Nero committed suicide, and Otho took over. However, a rival soon challenged him for the throne. Just three months into his reign, Otho killed himself, presumably to avoid a civil war in his empire. How did he bid farewell to his friends?