For most of the history of broadcasting, the audience has had one choice: either watch or listen to a broadcast when it is scheduled or miss it. TV viewers sometimes got lucky, as summer proved a perfect time to rerun a select number of previously aired programs. Radio listeners rarely, if ever, had an opportunity to hear a rebroadcast of any kind.
So-called appointment viewing was disrupted by the invention of the videocassette recorder. In the 1984 landmark Universal v. Sony legal action, the issue of personal recording circumventing copyright rose to the Supreme Court. By the slimmest of margins (5–4), the court ruled that the concept of “time shifting”—making of a copy of a program, for personal use, ...