Finding Murphy Brown: How Accessible are Historic Television Broadcasts?


  • Jeff Ubois Archival TV; PO Box 8495; Berkeley, CA 94707, USA


This article presents the results of a project completed in May, 2005 at the University of California, Berkeley to measure the accessibility of historic television broadcasts. The first section describes a model of the accessibility of news and entertainment broadcasts, and the second section applies this model in an attempted reconstruction of the interaction on television between then-Vice President Dan Quayle and the fictional character Murphy Brown. The final section compares the results with the ruling in Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corp. v. Crooks, 542 F. Supp. 1156 (W.D.N.Y. 1982), which has restricted the sharing of video broadcasts recorded off the air for academic use, and offers some suggestions for future research.