What TV shows are in the public domain?
is the probably the best answer that we’ve found on the topic:
The list, however, comes with a caveat:
“Bear in mind however that these are not necessarily consecutive episodes or even from the same season. In some cases "special" episodes (anniversaries, births, deaths, etc) were properly copyrighted with an eye towards future rebroadcasts.”
We cannot attest to the validity of this list, so if you’re attempting to exploit any of the televisions show episodes on the list, we invite you to contact us via our contact form here
to receive specific guidance on your question or to find another lawyer who can determine for certain what rights, if any, have shifted in the public domain of these shows.
Finally, be aware that if you intend on reusing the video in a commercial context that promotes your business or a context that portrays someone in the video in a false light, there are other, non-copyright laws (known collectively as right of publicity laws) that may prevent you from using the videos in these ways.
Depending on what you do with the footage, you can also potentially run afoul of defamation laws. For footage of those who have passed away, however, you’re likely safe. Defamation generally doesn’t apply to the deceased, as the common saying amongst lawyers goes: you can’t defame the dead.
If you have any questions about the benefits and downsides of modern copyright laws, feel free to contact New Media Rights via our contact form to find out whether you qualify for free or reduced fee legal services. We also offer competitive full fee legal services on a selective basis. For more information on the services we provide click here.