Showbiz is a fickle mistress. A YouTube account figured that out when CBS sued them for posting The Andy Griffith Show episodes on the site. While the episodes are in the public domain, CBS attorneys argued that there was more to it than that.
It was back in 2016 when CBS filed the suit. YouTube channel, 8thManDVD.com Cartoon Channel had posted 16 episodes of the television classic. Edward Heldman III, the founder, and president of the company that runs the channel was named in the lawsuit. His channel received over 2 million total views across the videos.
Back in the 1990s, episodes 80 to 95 fell into the public domain. This happened after a filing date was missed. So, The Andy Griffith Show episodes were fair game, according to Heldman and his team. However, Jonathan Zavin, representing CBS claimed it wasn’t so simple. From his standpoint, just because the episodes themselves are unregistered, it doesn’t mean the IP that existed before those videos are included.
“Accordingly, the newly-added elements, and only the newly-added elements, of those Middle Episodes which did not previously appear in the first 79 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (which remain protected by statutory copyright) have fallen into the public domain in the United States,” he explained.
Heldman meanwhile argued that the episodes were fair to use due to the public domain status. He also argued that they were remastered and should be considered derivative work.
CBS was seeking an injunction as well as any profits that Heldman made from the videos. Those ranged from $750 to $150,000 depending on the video and the infringement, with 79 total citations.
The 8thManDVD channel does not have any episodes of The Andy Griffith Show listed on the channel anymore.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actress Played More Characters Than Anyone Else
Speaking of intellectual property, The Andy Griffith Show had one actress that played many characters. During her time on the show, Mary Lansing played many characters. Some were important. Others were minor. Most of the time she was one of the older women in town. Aunt Bee had a lot of friends, and that’s who she played for the most part.
Most known for her role as Martha Clark, the actress was seen all around town. She was also behind the roles of Mrs. Rodenbach and Mrs. Lukens. During her time on the show, Lansing would play 13 different characters. That’s quite a feat. It’s amazing anyone remembered the name of her other characters from episode to episode.
If there’s one lesson from this whole thing, don’t infringe on CBS IP. Even if it is old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, they will lawyer up. So watch on MeTV instead and avoid the lawsuits.