Chicks Can’t Imagine How Cool I Am

At the Grokster oral argument, the CEA was handing out free "Save Betamax" T-Shirts. Of course, this is a reference to the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Sony v. Universal over betamax technology. The entertainment industry argued that VCR should be illegal. The Supreme Court disagreed and said that any technology with commercially significant non-infringing use is OK. Grokster v. MGM is basically revisiting the issue.

I picked up a "Save Betamax" shirt at the court and was wearing it yesterday. At a fashionable hipster bar, the cute bartender complemented me on my shirt. I said thanks and started chatting with her. It quickly became apparent that she had had no idea that the shirt was in reference Sony v. Universal. She thought it was a cry to save the now-long-dead tape format.

I’ve been told that hipster fashion revolves in part around an aesthetic of both retro and "so uncool it’s cool" — trucker hats, cheap beer, etc. A shirt claiming to want to save a now-totally-defunct recording technology is really uncool so, in her mind, was cool and attractive. I think that by my cute bartenders standards, the fact that the shirt was in fact referencing a now-totally-defunct video tape format only as a way of alluding to a body of copyright and technology jurisprudence is even more uncool and geeky. Following this logic, the shirt was more cool than even she knew.