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Atari v. JS&A Group

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Citation Edit

Atari, Inc. v. JS&A Group, Inc., 597 F. Supp. 5 (N.D. Ill. 1983) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Atari sued the JS&A Group for copyright infringement and patent infringement, claiming that JS&A, in marketing its product PROM BLASTER (which allowed users to make copies of Atari 2600 game cartridges), was guilty of contributory copyright infringement.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

JS&A, citing §117 of the Copyright Act, stated that the PROM BLASTER was intended to allow users to make archival copies of their legally-owned computer programs and hence its primary use was non-infringing.

The district court decided that, as §117 had been rewritten based on input from the Final Report of the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) that states that archival copies of digital media should be allowed “to guard against destruction or damage by mechanical or electrical failure,” and since game cartridges as media are not particularly subject to mechanical or electrical failure, making an archival copy of a game cartridge constituted copyright infringement.

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