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Master Tapes of "EARTH 2" at a Pawnshop in WI??

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by wizard55, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. wizard55

    wizard55 Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure who to turn to with what I found but I figured I post and see who can help. I was at a pawnshop here in WI and came acrossed a handful of black hard vhs cases with a long white label on the side that says "NBC Burbank" at the top. The rest looked like this:

    Mat ID. B-45337
    Title: Earth 2
    Episode: Church of Morgan (and the other one I picked up was pilot ep)
    Part ____ Reel _____
    MG # _________
    VTO # 91880
    Rec Dt ________
    Rec Tm ________
    P.B. Dt ________
    Dub Dt__11/1/94___
    Tape # _________
    VTR # Premix
    Opr UTTZ
    A-1 L A-2 R
    A-3____ A-4____
    __________________

    check boxes that include (org, dub, line, stereo, mono, cc, vitc, TC in Pix, Split Trk, NR, S. Slugs, Multi Cut) and the two checked are DUB and MONO (other vhs I picked up as the TC in Pix and Stereo checked)

    I only watched the PILOT PART 1 AND 2 tape so far and it has the colored bars at hte beginning, no sound effects or music throughout, REALLY REALLY GOOD AUDIO for 16 year old vhs, and a counter counting the minutes, seconds, and miliseconds.
    Theres also some black screens once in a while describing what it supposed to be seen there, like it hasn't been added yet such as an out of control spaceship and then a black screen saying "spacepod falling from atmosphere" and back to the scene.
    I assumed this was maybe a master tape from a local station that aired this series, but do they use seperate tapes for the music and such like they would use in the original making of the series? But the missing scenes makes me wonder if theres a very very remote chance it could be an actual tape use while making this series. but how in the world would it end up in WI??? lol Any help with figuring these out would be greatly appreciated :)
     
  2. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    If I were you, I'd contact NBC and tell them that you know someone who purchased the tapes from a pawnshop. Chances are, they might give you some kind of reward. But, I would make copies of them or transfer them to DVD.
     
  3. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Screenwriter

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    They're screening cassettes that were used by someone to make notations during the process of putting the show together. No "masters" are on a VHS tape. I'm not familiar with the show but I'm sure it was shot on 35mm film. No need to contact anybody. You didn't discover the video equivalant of the Lost Ark. Only value they are to anybody is as a collector's curiosity piece.
     
  4. wizard55

    wizard55 Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting. Thankyou for helping me out. Does anyone else have any additional information about these? I'm still perplexed how they would end up in WI...hmmmm...strange.
     
  5. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Wizard,

    I own the only season on DVD. As I love the show, I was kind of hoping that there might be an episode in "The Wisconsin Collection" that I hadn't seen. Is there a complete episode listing?
     
  6. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    somebody who worked post production probably retired in your area and his wife went through the boxes of stuff from LA and said - "We don't need this anymore. see if you can sell it."
     
  7. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    Well, I would definitely contact NBC. There's also a possibility that the tapes were taken from a scrupulous employee and eventually sold to the pawn shop. The problem is that NBC would still consider those tapes as property of NBC. If it's something that they didn't need anymore, they would have simply ordered those VHS tapes to be destroyed.
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Clearly not master tapes. They're working copies of a rough edit made before the final FX shots were added. The title cards indicate where the finished opticals will be inserted when they're ready. They're the equivalent of the lo-res AVID digital files that sometimes turn up as extras on DVDs these days, which are often missing FX, music, Foley, etc. The contents are the property of whoever owns the copyright, but I doubt NBC would (or even could) try to enforce a claim of ownership on the physical tapes. Sounds like you have a really cool collectors item.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  9. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    No, NBC's not going to freak out over that tape. It's just an unfinished editing tape. It shouldn't be floating around, really, but those things pop up all the time in thrift shops and such in the Los Angeles area. I've found similar tapes for Gilmore Girls and Popular in the past. I've also found screener tapes and advance copies that were presumably sent out to reviewers and later donated to those thrift shops. You should hang onto it though--sometimes those tapes include scenes that were never aired.
     
  10. Regulus

    Regulus Screenwriter

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    Originally Posted by Ethan Riley
     
  11. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    Trust me on this that NBC would care about it because technically it's their property and if their employees or staff are walking off the studio lot with NBC property then you can bet that they will take it serious and track who sold it to that pawn shop.
     
  12. SilverWook

    SilverWook Screenwriter

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    After 16 years, the trail is going to be a little cold. (Presuming anybody at NBC gives a damn.) Too bad it wasn't a bunch of lost Johnny Carson Tonight Shows...

    My local college used to get tons of donated tapes from Hollywood. They were all supposed to be erased before they got to us, but a few still had timecoded dubs or other leftovers on them.
     
  13. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The statute of limitations on the original theft would have expired long since, and it is an open question whether the tape would be considered the property of NBC or the studio that produced the series, since this was a rough-cut "work product", and as far as I know that stuff goes back to the studio once the network is done with it. This kind of stuff gets out all the time and it simply isn't worth anybody's time or effort to do anything about it. (What "value" would this have to either the network or the studio at this point? What harm could possibly come to them from your having it? Even if they were going to do a remake of the show - yeah, right - there is no way that an old tape of a partially finished episode could reduce the value of the remake or create any problems for it. As we used to say in the Bronx, "No autopsy, no foul." )

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  14. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Screenwriter

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    Originally Posted by kemcha
     
  15. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    HW Reviewer

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    On the other hand, it's the correct advice. Pawn Shops aren't supposed to accept stolen goods. No matter how you cut it, while nothing may happen, it's still not the guy's property to hawk.

    Imagine if someone swiped your Home Theater Receiver and took it to the pawn shop and hawked it for money. Would you be upset that the owner called you, seeing the tag on the back, and made sure that it was OK to sell? After all, it'd probably get the thief into some trouble, he'd probably lose his job.

    It happens all the time, and yes, it goes unprosecuted, etc. but still, it wasn't the proeprty of the person who hawked it, and if you were the one stolen from, you wouldn't be saying :( don't get him fired, you'd be hoping he'd go to jail.
     
  16. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    If someone were to steal my one-and-only home theater receiver and pawn it, I would be without an HT receiver, and someone else would be able to use said receiver for its intended purpose. This tape is one of many copies of an incomplete and inferior draft of a product that both the network and studio have already used in its perfected form, and which no buyer can use in an analogous fashion. By the letter of the law this is certainly stolen property and it would probably be a good idea tell the pawn shop owner, because he could be held liable if he sells stolen good. What he does with regards to the seller would then be up to him. He might just give them back to the guy and get a refund on his money.

    I'm not arguing in favor of theft or piracy, but analogies that attempt to explain intellectual property theft in terms of stealing physical property never work because stealing a copy of something that can be copied infinitely is simply not the same as stealing a physical object. If you steal my car, I no longer have my car. If you copy one of my CDs, I still have the CD. And even if you steal one of a dozen print-outs of the rough draft of report I'm writing, you have physically stolen the report but a) I have lots of others and b) it isn't finished anyway. It doesn't have all the charts and graphs. If it were company trade secrets I might be upset, but if if is a summary of public information, I'm not going to get too bent out of shape. Note that the examples I'm giving do not cover things like copying and distributing DVDs of finished works, or Academy Screeners or camcorder tapes of movies currently in theaters, all of which do actual harm to the owners of the intellectual property.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  17. kemcha

    kemcha Second Unit

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    Joseph, your argument doesn't even fly under scrutiny. That would be akin to someone robbing a bank and making the excuse that since they weren't using the money that it wasn't a robbery. Take a look at that incident a few years ago where someone robbed a bank and the bank robbers lost the money on that freeway/insterstate. You had drivers jumping out fo their cars and collecting that money and driving off.

    The prosecutor in that robbery threatened to arrest any civilian who collected that money as an accessory to that crime if they didn't return it.

    Trust me, it's better that you contact NBC and return that videotape. More than likely, NBC will reward you with a DVD or DVD set for returning their property.

    It doesn't matter whether or not NBC "intended" to never use that tape again. Trust me on this when I tell you that NBC will want to know if they have holes in their security where they have employees or staff walking off their studio lots with copies of their television shows or movies. Take a look at what happened with that Wolverine movie that was partially complete. 20th Century Fox ended up prosecuting the person that uploaded that movie to the internet and he was just recently sentenced with prison time.

    NBC is going to want to know if their employees are selling copies of their videotaped shows because they don't want that material to be sold at pawnshops. Considering that these shows have content that isn't available on the DVD releases, NBC could be held liable by music producers, music labels as well as licensors, producers, directors and whatnot.
     
  18. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Screenwriter

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    Voice of reason. No wonder its being disputed. Yeah, and the people who pulled the color Hullabaloo tapes out of the dumpster should have returned those to NBC. This way they could have made sure they were destroyed the same way all of the rest of the color videotapes were.

    Gotta go. I want to send that Amos and Andy DVD set I bought over to CBS so they can lock it up forever along with the rest of the elements on the series.
     
  19. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    By following your logic, I suppose I could make a fortune buying these old tapes from thrift shops and selling them back to the studios. Trust me, when I repeat, that I live in the Los Angeles area and I find stuff like this all the time. Believe me when I tell you the studios don't have time to track down editing tapes that they generally consider to be garbage in the first place. I spent a good portion of my life working on movie lots; you'd not believe the stuff that ends up in dumpsters. The studios don't care a tenth as much about that stuff as you surmise, and certainly not about a 90s show that nobody even remembers. They will care in the case of unfinished and unreleased movies such as Wolverine, in which case the person was offering it online. That was a big deal. But the studios don't care if private collectors wind up with stuff that they threw in the trash in the first place. They give stuff like that away to film students who are touring tv shows as class projects. And I was an extra and bit player for many, many years and I got all kinds of stuff from those sets. A producer of "the Practice" once gave me a videotape of the dailies to take home as a souvenir. And I once found raw film stock from "Dawson's Creek" in the trash over at Sony...just sitting there in the open. I also know a private collector who's got a small library of footage of stuff that came across--he's got videos of pilots that didn't make it, unaired episodes of cancelled series, dailies from movies and tv, raw footage, you name it.

    I also see stuff like this pop up on ebay from time to time. There is definitely a market for dedicated fans, collectors and curiosity seekers for this kind of material. Always has been, always will be. The studios have neither the time, the resources or the wherewithal to track down each and every piece of intellectual property and demand its return--the fact is, this kind of collecting has been going on since the 1930s. There are many thousands of collectors who have stuff like this, and better stuff than Earth 2. To be very technical, no, they shouldn't really have that stuff, but as long as they're not selling it commercially the studios don't make a fuss.

    The spirit of this type of film memorabilia collecting is that we pat one another on the back when we make a "find." We do not suggest that collectors turn the material over to the studios for prosecution and reward. Don't tip the boat.
     
  20. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    Oh, if only someone had looted the warehouse where the old DuMont footage was stored...
     

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