Mr. Rogers died today. On top of everything he meant to many former children, he was also not afraid to speak out against other powerful interests in his industry. Bernard Hibbits pays him good tribute by quoting from the Sony v. University City Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984) opinion:
Fred Rogers [is] president of the corporation that produces and owns the copyright on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The program is carried by more public television stations than any other program. Its audience numbers over 3,000,000 families a day. He testified [at trial] that he had absolutely no objection to home taping for noncommercial use and expressed the opinion that it is a real service to families to be able to record children's programs and to show them at appropriate times. If there are millions of owners of VTR's [video tape recorders] who make copies of televised sports events, religious broadcasts, and educational programs such as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and if the proprietors of those programs welcome the practice, the business of supplying the equipment that makes such copying feasible should not be stifled simply because the equipment is used by some individuals to make unauthorized reproductions of respondents' works.
May he rest in peace