It makes sense to price high to get maximum returns from the users who must have it now, and then catch everyone else later with lower priced offerings.
It makes cultural, or creative, sense to release the footage at cost and let people remix and use it for whatever purposes.
The profit for the show was already made, it should be public domain by now.
I'd guess from a studio's POV the trade-off is between spending money updating an ancient show in the hope of making a little cash now and a little more from residuals, and making new shows which are more or less guaranteed to bring a profit.
But that aside, I'm not sure there's any way to make something like Star Trek public domain. Never mind the studio - the actors, writers, and producers will still be relying on residuals for continuing income.
And even if that weren't true - what exactly do you make public domain? You can't just hand out the original unedited film stock to anyone who asks for it. How about the scores for the music? Or the audio mix files? Or the EDL? Or the various revisions of the scripts? Props? Set carpentry - if there's any left? Wiring?
Reality: very few elements are digital files that can be copied/shared, even if you wanted to allow the public to copy/share them.
The situation is that the studio could do work on the footage to make it releasable, then sell the processed footage for profit.
The argument is that the processing of the footage makes it too expensive to do this, the studio might make a loss.
So, all the IPR, releases and such need to be in order for it to be possible to release the processed footage.
It's possible there is contractual obligation preventing release of rushes and other unfinalised footage, but it seems highly unlikely. I'd imagine the studio have rights to publish anything, thus enabling "making of" and "blooper reel" type videos.
So, if it's possible to arrange the IPR for the processed footage, then it's close to certainty that there's no IPR limitation on releasing the unprocessed footage.
Meaning finances are the only remaining issue.
Sure, the studio may not want to spend the money up front to arrange release of the footage; but that is likely to be primarily to avoid fan works based on the footage from competing with their own outputs.
>You can't just hand out the original unedited film stock to anyone who asks for it. //
You could hand it to an archive for digitisation and give them rights to sell it at cost. Or, burn it. Or leave it in a canister to degrade until it's unusable.
>How about the scores for the music? Or the audio mix files? Or the EDL? Or the various revisions of the scripts? Props? Set carpentry - if there's any left? Wiring? //
Well, IPR aside, why not. If you're paying to keep the set in storage, why not give it away and save your storage costs and get on with making new sets that are going to be used?
Primarily however, we the demos should be taking the question of what to do with unneeded IPR away from the studios. Make copyright terms shorter to match patent terms.