This Day in Pop Culture for May 13

Thomas Edison sued over new motion-picture technology

Edison Sues Over New Motion-Picture Technology

Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb and the phonograph, sued the American Mutoscope Company on this day in 1898. It turns out that Edison had entrusted his assistant, W.L.K. Dickson with a new invention, the Vitascope in which Dickson helped Edison’s competitors develop a similar machine, the Mutoscope. He was fired. However, Dickson then created his own company using this similar technology. In 1902, the courts ruled that Edison did not invent the motion-picture camera, but allowed that he had invented the sprocket system that moved perforated film through the camera. By 1909, Edison helped form the Motion Pictures Patents Corp. who served to keep others from entering the film industry. The courts found the organization to be an unfair monopoly and was later dissolved.

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