"By the way, some web sites are reporting that the new episodes are being distributed by Warner Special Projects. Rhino was acquired by Warner some time ago, so there's really been no change in companies. Rhino still remains the only company licensed to release MST3K episodes."
So nothing should change. Remain calm people. Nothing to see here.
Rhino, nor Warner has anything to do with the rights problems.
Except for a handful of public domain titles such as Eegah! and Manos: The Hands of Fate, and also a handful of Warner-owned movies (They own Mitchell from Allied Artists...), all the other movies have rights with someone or a company.
Sandy Frank is hogging the rights to the Gamera movies, MGM owns all the American International movies, Universal owns a ton of Season 8 episodes, and all of the KTMA episodes feature movies without clearance given.
MST3K is an expensive show to put on DVD for the main fact that the rights are needed from Best Brains Inc. AND the copyright holder of the featured movie. I doubt the AIP movies will ever be on DVD given MGM's bad relationship to WB now...
Those episodes have the rights licensed to Best Brains, themselves. The rights probably would be more expensive if a bigger company like WB was releasing the episodes. After all, BBI is a non-profit fan club.
This is probably not news to anyone who is a hardcore fan, but ALL of the non Rhino/BBI episodes of MST3K are available on DVD from fans who can burn DVDs. While I am all for the release of more episodes on DVD, I'm not complaining about the quality of the currently produced DVD-Rs from fans.
I currently own every episode of MST3K on VHS, and a few on DVD. When I can afford a DVD burner...... ooooh boy.