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A reply from TVO regarding Prisoners of Gravity

Illustration for article titled A reply from TVO regarding Prisoners of Gravity

The other day, I posted an appeal from Rick Green the host of Prisoners of Gravity a show from the early 90's that explored themes in speculative fiction. For nerds like me growing up in small town Ontario in the years before the internet, it was a geeky lifeline, assuring us that not only were we not alone, that "Space Stuff" we liked was not just fluff but spoke to the important issues of the day.


And then there were the guests. Wiki sez:

During its run, the list of authors interviewed became increasingly prestigious, including Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, David Brin, Charles de Lint, Harlan Ellison, William Gibson, Frederik Pohl, Terry Pratchett, Anne Rice, Spider Robinson, and Robert J. Sawyer, who was the most frequent guest on the program. Among the many interviewed comic book creators were Chris Claremont, Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman(who was twice selected as the fan-favorite guest in a viewership mail-in vote), Bob Kane, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Daniel Clowes, Scott McCloud, Frank Miller, and Alan Moore. Other notable guests included Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and actor Michael Dorn, film directors James Cameron and David Cronenberg, award-winning CGI animator Steve 'Spaz' Williams, and renowned paleontologistRichard Leakey.


Anyways I wrote an email to the station and got the following reply:

Dear viewer,

Thank you for taking the time to write to TVO about Prisoners of Gravity.

Making archived programming available to view online involves not only digitizing the content, but also clearing copyright. The actors, writers and musicians need to be paid royalty fees in order to clear the series for online distribution. We were able to do this for episodes of Prisoners of Gravity, but unfortunately, our online distribution rights were limited and have now expired.

With respect to the TVO Archive project, we are in the process of reviewing the entire TVO archive to determine what we can preserve, what we can share online, and what the associated costs are. We have anticipated that this process will take about 5 years.

Thank you again for letting us know how much you appreciated this series and the website. The volume of feedback received really speaks to the impact of TVO programming. Your feedback will be shared with the appropriate people on the website and archives teams.


Given that the host of the show is requesting that people write in and ask for them to put it back, I find this "rights expired" response questionable. Rick Green is a veteran of the television industry, who was acted, written, directed and produced series. I am sure he understands how rights issues work, and would not be making a request to fans if there was some insurmountable issue around the rights.

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