The sale of television shows on DVD has really taken off in the past few years. Interestingly, many being reproduced are shows that are in the public domain and are shows “on which not a penny of royalties is being paid to the creators or original distributors” (par. 2). Many of the shows in the public domain are classics “from the 1960s such as ‘Bonanza,’ ‘The Lucy Show,’ ‘The Rifleman’ and ‘The Beverly Hillbillies. Television copyrights “must be renewed every 28 years” and if they owner of the rights does not do that, then, television shows are placed into the public domain. Under these conditions, any person is free to package and sell those television shows as DVD box sets. These box sets can either be sold for extremely cheap or at the same price as licensed shows; the only difference is that shows still under copyright have to pay licensing fees, and are therefore not making as much money as the reproduced public domain shows.
One could ask if this entire concept is fair to the shows not in the public domain and paying fees. Any produced, and thus licensed, work can argue the pros and cons of the public domain, but without it there could be no protected works out of the public domain. Whether in the public domain or not, television shows are being reproduced onto DVDs, sold to the public, and bringing in legal income to companies. Rather than finding illegal ways of reproducing these classic televisions series, some fans and producers are willing to wait until they can be reproduced for a cheaper price, but still legally.