Valenti signs Betamax tape for fan at Grokster hearing

Given that the datestamp is 4/1/2005, I'm guessing this may be a spoof. But. According to Copyfight: En route to the Supreme Court Grokster hearing, former MPAA chief Jack Valenti — who famously predicted in 1982 that the VCR would choke the life out of the movie biz — stops to sign a Betamax tape for EFFer Annalee Newitz.

"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."


Update: Cory sez, "This is no hoax. My cow-orker Seth Schoen (the guy who wrote the DeCSS haiku) scored a bunch of old Betamax tapes and gave one to Annalee, who cornered Valenti and asked him to sign the tape. Valenti apparently did not get the irony here — he'd gone to Congress in 1982 to get the Betamax banned as the certain death of the movie industry, but from Annalee's look of unholy glee, it's clear that she was nearly busting open at this juncture. The tape has been given to Fred von Lohmann, EFF's Senior IP Attorney, the rockstar lawyer who successfully argued Grokster in the 9th Circuit."

Update: Xeni sez, holy crap.

BB reader Luis Villa says, "I and probably a hundred others saw it the morning of the case. Stills of Cindy Cohn of EFF with the tape, including a fairly clear shot of the signature: One, Two."

Nick Disabato adds, "I was in line a few places in front of it happening, and posted an image of his signing it from the back: Link, a few pics down, or here is the actual jpeg."

EFF Policy Director James S. Tyre says, "It was an unauthorized TV recording of Woody Allen's Sleeper. More snapshots, including 'the signing,' by EFFer Chris Palmer here."