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October 9, 2015

You can watch old TV shows on YouTube, but is it legal?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 11th 2007 6:40PM

Rocky JonesFascinating piece in the L.A. Times this weekend, about how many old TV shows are showing up on YouTube. And when I say "old" I don't mean All in the Family or Charlie's Angels. I'm talking about stuff from the 40s and 50s, like Captain Midnight, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, old Dinah Shore shows, and old commercials.

It's great to watch these early shows online (you can watch shows from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today on our own In2TV), but is it legal for people to just put these shows online?

It's not as simple as owning a copyright or not, since the copyright status of many early TV shows is either in doubt, confusing to figure out, or non-existent. It's rather complex, but the article gives a good primer.

One factoid from the article that made my stomach get all queasy: Ernie Kovacs' widow trusted a lawyer who said he would take care of all of the old kinescopes that were stored in her home. And he "took care of them" by loading them into a truck and dumping them into the water. Yikes.

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Watch your favorite TV shows on tv3o.com - your source for TV shows.

July 25 2007 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are tons of cancelled or failed shows that I'd love to see made available online.

If they're not going to be shown on TV or made available for sale in disc format, then why not have them available online?

As for commercials... they're advertisements. I don't see any problem with making them available online.

June 11 2007 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They're part of history. They're part of our culture. Would you rather have them not exist at all to most people? Or, are corporate interests really still working on their big plan to monetize the coveted 80 to 90 demographic?

June 11 2007 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My rule is if I cna't watch them anywhere else it's legal. What's the point of a company going "It's not legal" when they aren't on DVD or iTunes or anything.

June 11 2007 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've got some old local newscasts that I'm working on getting into YouTube. The station in mind has been through no less than three owners since, and most of the prior owners were individuals who are no longer alive and owned at most two stations, or the companies have been dissolved since. The call letters have changed also. It's not like they're working on "The Best of 80's Local News" DVD or anything else that could possibly generate any cash. I'm uploading.

June 11 2007 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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