Can I make copies of your programs to share with my friends?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Noooooooooo.

But seriously. In the Old Time Radio community, there is a widespread belief that programs are there to be heard and enjoyed. This is hard to refute.

There is also a pervading opinion that once a program has been released, either on tape or on the air, that it then belongs to everybody. This is plainly not true. Radio drama and other forms of audio programming cost money, time, and resources to produce; in return for that cost, the originators of that programming retain intellectual and performance rights to that material.

Yesterday’s situation

Now, many of the glorious performances that comprise the Golden Age of Radio are lost to us. Some are lost forever, simply because the show was held to be valueless at the time: If it was ever recorded, the media were reused or recycled.

Some are only lost for now, until some lucky cleaning or salvage crew discovers a cache of ancient tapes or discs containing the treasure of a bygone age. Many of these programs never included a copyright statement, certainly not what is now considered correct. In addition, many of the originators of the program are long gone, retired or dead; there may be nobody left to fight for ownership of the show, and it (informally) falls into public domain.

Today’s situation

The OTR community is founded, and leans heavily, on the unauthorized duplication and distribution of audio programming. This is done with the best of motives: To get the program into the hands — and ears — of an appreciative audience. Where there is no findable author or copyright holder, no one is hurt, and everyone benefits.

In this day and age, virtually anyone can make a limitless number of digital copies of almost any file and distribution has reached every corner of the globe.  Attempts to limit that distribution by companies far larger than we are have been hit-and-miss at best.  And so we do what we can – we ask you not to.

The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company is not a subsidiary of a faceless, nameless multi-national with money to burn on a moribund art form. We are a group of people who love what we do, and the medium we do it in. We take in just enough money to sustain our operations and try to put a little aside for future growth.  Even within the arts community we are considered small.

How you can help

And so, we ask that you refrain from uploading our material, even for free.  We have our own free podcasts that we encourage you to share with your friends and family that is taken from our live performances, but the studio work that we spend much more time and energy on to make it sound as good as possible, we ask that that material be left to us and our authorized distributors to sell so that we can continue to produce more of the audio drama you love.

And you can help!  If you see any of our material posted on a website that you think may be unauthorized, let us know and send us a link so we can contact the owner and ask politely that they take it down.  Many of these instances are due to people who honestly didn’t realize we were still around or that they were doing us harm.  We’d really appreciate the help! And don’t forget that we accept donations as well through a variety of means!