Whenever I mention in The Rap Sheet that I’ve discovered some wonderful trove of vintage TV crime dramas on the video-sharing site YouTube, I try to emphasize that interested readers should tarry not in watching those episodes, because they are likely to disappear soon. This case proves my point: Back in April, I reported that a user signing him- or herself as “Zardon4” had uploaded dozens of episodes of the 1968-1971 NBC drama The Name of the Game to YouTube. In the months since, Zardon4 greatly expanded his/her “channel” with more than 80 episodes of the 1958-1963 police drama Naked City, plus assorted installments of Journey to the Unknown, Edgar Wallace Mysteries, Barbary Coast, and other programs. Yesterday, though, when I went to see what new things Zardon4 had on offer, I found all of the videos gone and a note left in their place, explaining that the page had been “terminated because we received multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement …”
I don’t argue with the right of TV companies to claim ownership of their productions, or with YouTube’s touchiness about posters violating copyrights. (The Web site warns users of the risks they run by uploading material that is not exclusively their own.) I simply want to reiterate this message to Rap Sheet readers: Whenever you happen across complete episodes of classic TV shows on YouTube--not just The Name of the Game, but Mannix, Alias Smith and Jones, T.H.E. Cat, or Buddy Faro (all of which can still be found there)--don’t hesitate to watch them. Their life there may be brief.