The pilot episode of EVERY TV show should be Public Domain

I had this argument in the back of my head for a while, it came to the front again recently, and I figured I could give it a go over here.

Do you think it would be an overall good, or an overall bad, to have the Pilot episode of every TV show free for the taking?

Why can’t the first episode of every TV show be available for everyone?

The exposure of the show will recoup the costs. The “for reference” value can only add viewership.

The fact that it is the pilot show will also depreciate itself with each additional new episode.

If you wish to convince the producers of that, and they are willing, then fine. But it’s up to them to make the decision, not you.

The producers of the show ultimately are the ones in a position to judge how this might affect their bottom line. You don’t know anything about their finances, so you can’t presume the exposure will recoup the costs. If the people who know the costs think it’s a good idea, then they should allow it. But if not, then their wishes should be respected.

“Available to all free of charge,” might work. “Public domain” would mean abandoning their copyright in the central concepts and format of the series, which would be mad.


Along the same lines, I’m surprised that so many movie trailers are still “stream only”, as if the companies care about who sees their commercials and how they see them.

I still remember the Lord of the Rings trailers, which they even created their own torrents for so you could make sure they spread into the torrent world(so to speak) quickly and easily. Now,* they* knew how to advertise the movies.

I think it would be a prudent decision for the producers of a show to release the pilot, but like RealityChuck, I agree that if the producers decide otherwise, that’s their problem (or benefit, if they’re actually right).

Episodes of some early TV shows are already in public domain. Search on the web and you can find them.

What about the case where a 2 hour movie serves as a pilot for a series? I can’t think of an example but I am sure this is a common practice.