Rick Klein and his team have been preserving TV adverts, forgotten tapes, and decades-old TV programming for years. Now operating as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Museum of Classic Chicago Television has called YouTube home since 2007. However, copyright notices sent on behalf of Sony, protecting TV shows between 40 and 60 years old, could shut down the project in 48 hours.
After being reborn on YouTube as The Museum of Classic Chicago Television (MCCTv), the last sixteen years have been quite a ride. Over 80 million views later, MCCTv is a much-loved 501(c)(3) non-profit Illinois corporation but in just 48 hours, may simply cease to exist.
In a series of emails starting Friday and continuing over the weekend, Klein began by explaining his team’s predicament, one that TorrentFreak has heard time and again over the past few years. Acting on behalf of a copyright owner, in this case Sony, India-based anti-piracy company Markscan hit the MCCTv channel with a flurry of copyright claims. If these cannot be resolved, the entire project may disappear.
No matter whether takedowns are justified, unjustified (Markscan hit Sony’s own website with a DMCA takedown recently), or simply disputed, getting Markscan’s attention is a lottery at best, impossible at worst. In MCCTv’s short experience, nothing has changed.
“Our YouTube channel with 150k subscribers is in danger of being terminated by September 6th if I don’t find a way to resolve these copyright claims that Markscan made,” Klein told TorrentFreak on Friday.
“At this point, I don’t even care if they were issued under authorization by Sony or not – I just need to reach a live human being to try to resolve this without copyright strikes. I am willing to remove the material manually to get the strikes reversed.”
Complaints Targeted TV Shows 40 to 60 years old
Two episodes of the TV series Bewitched dated 1964 aired on ABC Network and almost sixty years later, archive copies of those transmissions were removed from YouTube for violating Sony copyrights, with MCCTv receiving a strike.
Given that copyright law locks content down for decades, Klein understands that can sometimes cause issues, although 16 years on YouTube suggests that the overwhelming majority of rightsholders don’t consider his channel a threat. If they did, the option to monetize the recordings can be an option.
No Competition For Commercial Offers
Why most rightsholders have left MCCTv alone is hard to say; perhaps some see the historical value of the channel, maybe others don’t know it exists. At least in part, Klein believes the low quality of the videos could be significant.
“These were relatively low picture quality broadcast examples from various channels from various years at least 30-40 years ago, with the original commercial breaks intact. Also mixed in with these were examples of ’16mm network prints’ which are surviving original film prints that were sent out to TV stations back in the day from when the show originally aired. In many cases they include original sponsorship notices, original network commercials, ‘In Color’ notices, etc.,” he explains.
Klein says the team is happy to comply with Sony’s wishes and they hope that given a little leeway, the project won’t be consigned to history. Perhaps Sony will recall the importance of time-shifting while understanding that time itself is running out for The Museum of Classic Chicago Television.