Why do copyright dates at the end of TV and movie credits almost always appear in Roman numerals? We found several theories for this.

The first is the “deception theory.” Roman numerals make it tough for the viewer to figure out the age of the show. Who wants to watch an old show? It’s stale — best you not know. The BBC says the same thing — disguise the year. Something was made to disguise its age.

Then there’s the “why change theory.” That’s just the way it’s always been done.

One more — the “fade away theory.” Movies and TV were shot with film and film can deteriorate, making it hard to read numbers. A “6” can fade to look like a “5” or an “8” to a “3” while Roman numerals are still easier to read as they age on film.