Vintage radio recordings -- free!

When I was a puppy kid, I discovered the incredible world of the Shadow, Lights Out!, Dimension X, the adventures of Sam Spade… and far more. Vintage radio broadcasts, rerecorded and sold on cassette, really meant something to me.

And now, via the Internet, I can get 'em streamed for free.

Truly, the millenium has arrived.

Right here.

Very cool!

from their website:

I"d love it if one of our smarter Dopers could comment on this. Thanks.

Actually, I ain’t too dumb. Just getting sleepy and ready to nod off. Lazy, perhaps.

:cool: :cool: :cool:

“The War of the Worlds”, by H. G. Wells performed by Orson Welles & the Mercury Theatre on the Air is here! Look in the Mercury Theater link.

Well, they can’t claim copyright if the copyrights have expired. They can copyright the web pages, and perhaps a compilation copyright (copyrighting the order and design of what they have), but they do not own copyright to the recordings. If they’re public domain, they’re public domain for everyone, and transferring them to streaming video does not give them the right to copyright the materal.

As for the original copyrights – it’s probably a mess. A lot are probably in the public domain, since no one thought it was worth it to renew the original copyrights when they expired. However, some probably were, so it’s hard to tell which was renewed and what wasn’t. If someone does have a legitimate copyright, then the website can be sued for damages (the fact they are streaming these for free is not a consideration).

There is legislation in the works for ophan copyrights, so once that passes, some of the liability will be lessened.

Thanks, Chuck. That’s what I was looking for.

This stuff is amazing.

Groucho Marx’ You Bet Your Life was where I went first. I had high expectations, but there was exceeded. The quick double-entenderes never stopped. I was a bit surprised that some of his stuff made it by the censors. There was some interesting reminders of how the world has changed.

I’ve got Jack Benny on now. Not bad, although I don’t think his stuff ages quite as well. (To be fair, Jack’s stuff is a decade older.) I’m listening to his December 7, 1941 show now. One Pearl Harbor announcement so far.

Just listened (tried to, I should say) to a 1938 ep of Information Please. Unless I’m wrong, being an educated person in that day and age required one helluva lot more rote memorization than anything we’re used to now.

Since a person in that age couldn’t access this board, they had oodles more time to read/learn stuff. That’s the difference. :slight_smile:

OK. I can’t imagine anyone learning anything much from listening to IP itself, unless they had a phonographic memory.

Well, there’s one bit of information that hadn’t spread by December 7, 1941.

No one knew how to pronounce Oahu.

Not so fast:

That’s doesn’t make the recordings public domain: the scripts were usually copyrighted, so the use of any copyrighted scripts would be a violation.

While we’re on the rights topic, is there some rights-related reason (ASCAP/BMI, perhaps) that the OTR hobby generally doesn’t touch music programs? Or is it just that the typical OTR fan isn’t into the music of that era?

Actually, my understanding is that nobody bothered to register the copyrights on either the recordings or the scripts more often than not. The shows were generally regarded as a very ephemeral product–certainly not art!–and registering the copyright was just added expense and bother for something that no one believed would have any value a few years or a few months down the road. The copyright situation on many if not most Old Time Radio shows is very ambiguous.

More the latter than the former. The sound quality of music shows is usually poor, and sound quality matters a lot more in music than spoken word programs.

The copyright status of old time radio programs is indeed a murky issue. Some things to keep in mind:

Broadcast does not constitute publication. Thus, a radio program is unpublished until the owner of the copyright authorizes its publication in a fixed form (e.g., record, tape). Bootlegs do not constitute publication, either.

Underlying copyrights. Even if the radio program is in the public domain now, it may be adapted from a story, play, or other work that is still under copyright; or it may contain music that is still under copyright.

From the U.S. Copyright Code:

Section 302:

Cool–Burns & Allen, and Jack Benny! . . . If only it had Jimmy Durante and Mary Noble, Backstage Wife . . .

Also, while the recordings might not have been subject to copyright, any published music would be, and assuming all registration and renewal processes had been followed, can not be guaranteed to be in the public domain unless published before 1923, the very earliest days of radio technology.

By the way, here’s another site.