"Nickelodeon has deep pockets"
Well it's going to need them. International lawsuits are a whole 'nother level of expense.
The stuff is out there now. Let the game of whack-a-mole commence.
Nickelodeon says it is probing claims that "decades old" material was stolen from it and leaked online. This follows reports on social media that someone had dumped 500GB of snatched animation files. Hilarity, and many SpongeBob SquarePants memes, ensued. "We are aware of social media posts that alleged production-related …
Now that it's out there anyway, Nickelodeon could do worse than to make the same content officially (& freely!) available - Maybe dress it up a bit and add some context, DVD-extras style.
As the article said, there are people out there who would be genuinely excited about this, and it would provide an interesting behind-the-scenes view of what actually went on back in the day.
Why would it need to be free? I didn't read about that requirement.
They should put all of the video and stills on youtube, vimeo, and every other ad-supported or paid video platform. Hell, they should upload the audio snippets, too. Also put the audio on Spotify, Apple Music, etc, with ads. Hell, open a patreon account dedicated to the cataloging and disemination. Surely there are 50k people who'd pay $5 to have this happen. If its out there, its out there and they're never going to remove it all succesfully. They should embrace it and charge for it. I think the same should go for every production company, movie studio and tv network. if you've got pre-production art, stills, outtakes, even B-roll video, I can assure you that if you put it on youtube, with ads, people will watch it. If you have your in-house historian overdub the video-only peices, hardcore fans will watch even more ads. If you put it online, you could reach 4,000,000,000 paying customers, and with that audience, you'd have to be an ignoramus not to.