MTV News Repository of Nearly 480,000 Articles Launched by Internet Archive After Paramount’s Content Takedown

MTV News lives! Well, sort of.

In the days after Paramount Global disabled mtvnews.com and mtv.com/news — removing a trove of hundreds of thousands of articles about music and pop culture from the internet — the not-for-profit Internet Archive assembled a searchable index of 479,020 web pages previously published at mtv.com/news.

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You can search the MTV News archive on the organization’s Wayback Machine at this link. Prior to Internet Archive aggregating the MTV News pages into a collection, there was no way to locate articles based on search terms.

Paramount shut down the MTV News division as part of a larger round of layoffs in May 2023. In recent weeks, amid ongoing financial challenges, the company took MTV News content offline as well as thousands of CMT articles and it also purged video content from Comedy Central’s site. In a statement, Paramount Global rep said, “As part of broader website changes across Paramount, we have introduced more streamlined versions of our sites, driving fans to Paramount+ to watch their favorite shows.” Regarding Paramount Global’s removal of articles from MTV News specifically, a company spokesperson said, “As part of broader website changes across Paramount, we have introduced more streamlined versions of our sites.” The rep said all MTV News content is being preserved in a non-public archive.

Internet Archive also launched a searchable archive of 73,557 pages from cmt.com/news, available at this link. In addition, the organization hosts collections of snapshots of the MTV News site from 2022, 2023 and 2024. Of course, the images from May 2023 onward are static, given that MTV News ceased publishing new content then. Pictured above is what the site looked like last month until Paramount pulled the plug.

A source familiar with Paramount Global said the cost of maintaining the sites — which received very low traffic — was greater than digital ad revenue they produced. Currently, Paramount Media Networks, which houses the cable network brands and related digital services, is exploring how to it might be able to make MTV News content available publicly in a more efficient way.

The Wayback Machine’s archive of MTV News, which appears to go back to at least 1997, is not the full complement of what was published over the span of more than two decades. In addition, some images in the archived pages of MTV News on the service are unavailable. But the new collection at least ensures, for the time being, that much of MTV News’ articles remain accessible in some form. That includes MTV News’ well-known “Mixtape Mondays” weekly hip-hop column; a search on the Wayback Machine returned 3,325 results for that term.

Following Paramount’s removal of MTV News content from pubic view, the staff at the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine reached out to Michael Alex, who founded and led MTV News’ digital group from 1994 until 2007, about assembling the pages they had crawled into a searchable index. He’s encouraged by the project: “It’s incomplete, but it’s very impressive,” he said. “It’s like a treasure when you find something you’re looking for.”

Wayback Machine also has searchable collections for other sites that have winked offline or gone through upheavals including gawker.com, vice.com and themessenger.com.

The last articles published by MTV News were dated May 7, 2023, including “Scream’s Ghostface Accepts Best Movie And Best Fight: ‘Movies Don’t Create Psychos'” from the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards. As of this writing, it remains one of a few hundred articles that are still live on mtv.com.

Meanwhile, is the Wayback Machine’s archive of MTV News content OK under copyright law? The organization generally asserts that its archives fall under the fair use doctrine. It describes its copyright policy for the Wayback Machine like this: “The Internet Archive respects the intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights of others. The Internet Archive may, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, remove certain content or disable access to content that appears to infringe the copyright or other intellectual property rights of others.” Internet Archive also provides copyright holders instructions for contacting the org if they believe their rights have been infringed.

But the Internet Archive has faced legal challenges: In 2023, a group of book publishers successfully sued over the organization’s e-book lending program and as a result, the Internet Archive last month removed some 500,000 titles. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit is currently hearing the organization’s appeal in that case.

The Internet Archive describes its mission in these terms: “Most societies place importance on preserving artifacts of their culture and heritage. Without such artifacts, civilization has no memory and no mechanism to learn from its successes and failures. Our culture now produces more and more artifacts in digital form. The Archive’s mission is to help preserve those artifacts and create an Internet library for researchers, historians and scholars.”

SEE ALSO: The Disappearance of MTV News’ Online Archive Is a Tragedy: Guest Post by the Website’s Founding Editor

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