Woz, Empire, and a tale of early Apple copyright violation

We used to line up a half-dozen of the VCRs and copy tapes. Just plop ‘em on an unused desk, cable ‘em all up, and push all the buttons. This was bad enough, but then Steve Wozniak wanted a tape of the newly-released “The Empire Strikes Back.” He bribed a San Diego projectionist to “borrow” the print from the cinema and drive it to Los Angeles in the dead of night. After several hours in a transfer facility, he had a 3/4″ U-Matic professional copy of the film print, and the projectionist high-tailed it back to the cinema to return the print. That tape also made its way into the copying chain. We were perhaps the first half-dozen people with videotape copies of the film. (I discarded my heavily-letterboxed copy years ago…)