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Television of days gone by - Which is not unduly obvious, as I am about to explain
Television of days gone by
It just occurred to me a few minutes ago that I've never come across an Internet site devoted to helping fans of old obscure tv shows get copies of those shows from other fans.

It doesn't mean that such sites don't exist - I'm too lazy at the moment to put my search skills to use and find them, because I'm hungry, thirsty, and need to go grocery shopping, and I've been lying in bed since about noon re-reading Snow Crash. I did a cursory web search. Tape exchange websites and forums seem to exist, but none of them seemed to be well-networked, and I mean, like, Big.

It's surprising, actually, because web sites devoted to tracking down other media already exist. Looking for an old vinyl record? Gemm. Looking for an old book? Advanced Book Exchange. Looking for a website? Search engines. These websites pool data from people scattered all over the place who want to perform a transaction, be it of money or information. And then for any old kind of stuff there's e-Bay, of course.

This came together in my mind because of recent conversations I was having with a friend about the BBC, who have been trying to re-build their archive of shows that were lost, destroyed or erased, and the best way to do is it to appeal to the masses and say, "Uh, does anyone out there have this stuff, and can we get a copy?"

Now of course when it comes to taping shows off tv and sharing them with friends, things start to get ansy over copyright and such, especially when the shows are recent. I mean, up here in Canada, when we first heard about Invader Zim and it wasn't getting broadcast up here, darnit, we wanted to see those episodes now, and so we... er... acquired copies by various means.

As a librarian, copyright is one of many ethical minefields to deal with, and frankly I haven't entirely worked out my own feelings towards it yet. One thing I know for sure, which stems back to my archaeology courses, is that it's no good to do an excavation and then not publish about it. Same thing I'm sure with archives of any sort. What good is the preservation of information if people can't access and use it in some form or another?

If the commercial market isn't going to sell old television shows, it's natural that people will be inclined to bypass the market and work out their own arrangements. Looking for old computer games? Home of the Underdogs. I'm not going to discuss music mp3 file-sharing here; that's a whole other minefield.

Computer data storage and video capability is now pretty darn good, and home DVD-making has come down into better price ranges. Who knows how long DVDs will be around as a storage format, but at least it doesn't decay like VHS tapes to. This is the time to start encoding those old tv shows. If the people who legally own the shows still care and market something official, hey - the fans will be the first in line to buy the legit copy.

I've got stuff I'd like to encode, like "SuperThunderStingCar", a Peter Cook and Dudley Moor live-action parody of supermarionation. And I want to DVD-ize my copy of The Kingdom. (Technically this already exists on DVD, but it's a different edit. I gave away the copy I bought because I couldn't watch what I felt was an artistically inferior product.) And I'm still interested in spreading the Foops meme, except I don't know anyone who wants to host an uber-huge file. (25 Meg? 13Meg? I forget, it's a big file.)

And I'd love to find old episodes of Police Squad and other obscure stuff, like shows that appeared on TV-Ontario. The power of nostalgia!

Of course now that I've typed all this I'm even more hungry and dehydrated than before. Beats nostalgia every time.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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(Deleted comment)
dronon From: dronon Date: February 21st, 2004 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)


That's a useful website, but it's not an ideal medium for people without broadband connections. I was thinking of more of an e-Bay type system: it gets people in contact and they can work out their own method of exchanging the data.
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