Beleaguered Paramount Wipes Historic MTV News and Comedy Central Archives

Alex Young, Consequence:

MTV News has pulled its digital archive, making thousands of news stories, profiles, interviews, and other editorial features dating back to the 1996 no longer accessible on the web.

Jed Rosenzweig, LateNighter: had been home to clips from every episode of The Daily Show since 1999, and the entire run of The Colbert Report, but as of Wednesday morning, those clips (and most everything else on the site) are gone.

Michael Alex, who used to run MTV News’ web team, in a guest piece for Variety:

History needs stewards, not owners. Whoever legally owns the archive does not legally own the history, even if they own the creative work of thousands of writers, editors, producers and more. This archive — of MTV News, where you heard it first — needs to be available to public.

I will not pretend to understand how big of a financial hole Paramount is in, but I fully understand the loss of this archive. Most of the video clips are not available anywhere else — at least, not publicly and not legally. Much of the text on MTV News has been saved by the Internet Archive going back to 1996, but it also has huge gaps.

I do not want to make this sound like the Library of Alexandria is burning down, but it is an important collection of work. Now, without any notice, it is all gone.