Zombie84, I'm not trying to be discouraging. You're right in principal (about it being the only way to really take control, not the legal side). It's just practical details that pose the problem. We've discussed this idea at some length here before, as some of the others implied. There have been some 16mm prints sold on ebay that some of us have bid on (IIRC, a complete 'scope trilogy went for around $6000). But you are facing really big problems to beat the quality that's out there:
1) print quality - getting a
print is possible, but in what condition? There will almost certainly be some segments that are worthless (splices). So you'll have to get two or more prints of each film to get a viable whole. Even then, they will be faded and scratched. Okay, you can recover some of that with digital image manipulation - but how much?
2) scanning - no professional facility will scan a print of a copyrighted movie for you (if you find one who will, please let me know
). So, you would have to get a couple of employees who had the technical skills, the ability to access the facility outside its work hours and the willingness to sacrifice their job (at the very least) if caught on board with your project. Not impossible, but do you know anyone who fits the bill (again, if you do, let me know
3) digital post - okay let's say you've got your scans at home in your new 5TB drive. As Zion said, you are now facing years of restoration work. Most importantly, the chances are good that what you ultimately produce will not be of acceptably high quality to justify the time, money and energy you will have expended.
With all that said, if you decide to go ahead, knowing what you are facing, I applaud you, genuinely wish you the best of luck and will gladly make a contribution.