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Copyrights and CD-Rs Endanger Audio History 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the digital-erosion dept.
SEWilco writes "A study by the Library of Congress has found that many audio recordings are being lost due to copyright restrictions and temporary media. Old audio recordings are protected by a various US state copyrights, so it's hard for preservationists to get and copy material. Recent data is threatened by being put on writable CDs, because CD-Rs begin to lose data after a few years, so recordings from as recently as 9/11 and the 2008 elections are already at risk."
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Copyrights and CD-Rs Endanger Audio History

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  • Vanishing People (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denshao2 (1515775) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:21AM (#33768140) Homepage Journal
    We will be a mystery to archaeologists of the future.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:22AM (#33768142)

    Rip those CDs, create a torrent, and share that torrent on thelibarianbay.org. Problem solved!

  • by LBt1st (709520) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:28AM (#33768164)

    Don't worry, there'll be a torrent ;)

  • Old news.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bomarc (306716) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:30AM (#33768176) Homepage
    The slashdot article "How To Verify CD-R Data Retention Over Time?" [slashdot.org] covered this a LONG time ago...
  • Not quite right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cappp (1822388) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:37AM (#33768216)
    Copyright doesn't have that effect at all. Infact the Digital Millenium Copyright Act specifically creates the option for libraries and archives to create copies for preservation. Check out the actual law [cornell.edu] which includes

    it is not an infringement of copyright for a library or archives, or any of its employees acting within the scope of their employment, to reproduce no more than one copy or phonorecord of a work, except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), or to distribute such copy or phonorecord, under the conditions specified by this section, if—

    (1) the reproduction or distribution is made without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage;

    (2) the collections of the library or archives are
    (i) open to the public, or
    (ii) available not only to researchers affiliated with the library or archives or with the institution of which it is a part, but also to other persons doing research in a specialized field; and

    (3) the reproduction or distribution of the work includes a notice of copyright that appears on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions of this section, or includes a legend stating that the work may be protected by copyright if no such notice can be found on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions of this section.
    (b) The rights of reproduction and distribution under this section apply to three copies or phonorecords of an unpublished work duplicated solely for purposes of preservation and security or for deposit for research use in another library or archives of the type described by clause (2) of subsection (a), if—

    (1) the copy or phonorecord reproduced is currently in the collections of the library or archives; and
    (2) any such copy or phonorecord that is reproduced in digital format is not otherwise distributed in that format and is not made available to the public in that format outside the premises of the library or archives.

    If you're referencing personal preservation rights then you should read this article [stanford.edu]from the Standford Libraries on copyright and fairuse.

  • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:44AM (#33768250)
    For longevity, current backup systems are just silly. They are simply just not abstracted enough. For REAL archival what's needed is an active system like the Internet but one that guarantees n redundancy. Perhaps a p2p like system with nodes backing up files. This abstracts away whether they are going on SATA, IDE, SCSI, Tape, whatevs. The local machine handles all the hardware details. When newer, better, cheaper technology comes along, the old data is automatically able to propagate onto the new storage mechanisms. I see this all the time working in the IT industry. I have backups from 10 years ago I can not read because we no longer have a working tape drive to read it. We need to separate ourselves from the hardware.
  • Short term CD-R (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@nOsPaM.jwsmythe.com> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:53AM (#33768288) Homepage Journal

        This is kind of funny.

        I warned people about depending on floppy disks for long term storage. After a few years, the media degrades and the data is impossible to retrieve. They didn't listen until they went back to floppies from years ago that no longer work.

        I warned people that home recordable CD's and DVD's had a shelf life of less than 10 years after they were burnt. I've seen CD's burnt, verified, and then put away in a good climate controlled environment, where a few years later they couldn't be read. For those who have listened to me, I've told them, make at least two copies, in different places, (like their hard drive and a CD), and burn new disks once a year. It sucks to have years of research on something, just to find the old information is lost.

        This isn't exactly news, but every so often someone finds out, writes a story, and it makes the news again.
       

  • Re:Short term CD-R (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @01:21AM (#33768398)

    Which is a good thing; it serves as a continual reminder.

    The really annoying thing is when you have to migrate data from technology A to technology B. How many 3480 tape drives (for example) are available, and in good working order today? I'm tipping "not many". And that was just 26 years ago. Every time a company moves from one storage medium to another, they either migrate the data across (which very few systems make a straightforward task - sure, disk is okay, but have you ever tried to migrate, for example, NetBackup or Networker backup data from tape to tape?), or they lose it.

    And that's without considering the whole issue of whether the data is useful. Let's say you just happen to have an Ingres database from the early 80s. Do you have software that can make sense of that data? Do you have a system that can run that software?

    Huge, huge, huge, huge issue, that goes way beyond just audio.

  • by aaa_zzz_ccc (1913554) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @01:37AM (#33768444)

    Since CDs have Reed-Solomon and parity for error correction, and even if samples fail the player will interpolate, you can have a pretty ruined disk before it won't play anymore. It is all or nothing once it starts to fail though-- at the point the interpolation can no longer repair a dirty section, the CD will simply drop out.

    I also recently (yesterday actually!) opened an old DVD+R (with an HFS volume) from 2002 and rearchived it to a new DVD. It still read perfectly, but it's been stored in a cool dark place, and has been mounted maybe 10 times.

    I agree

  • Re:Not quite right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anaerin (905998) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @01:40AM (#33768452)

    Okay, great. So where is the (completely legal under US law) software that the Library of Congress can use to back up Blu-Rays that have been released recently? Or, indeed, legal (Under US law) software that they can use to back up DVDs? Nowhere, because such software is in direct conflict with the DMCA, and thus is illegal.

  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @01:43AM (#33768456)

    For REAL archival what's needed is an active system like the Internet but one that guarantees n redundancy. Perhaps a p2p like system with nodes backing up files. This abstracts away whether they are going on SATA, IDE, SCSI, Tape, whatevs. The local machine handles all the hardware details. When newer, better, cheaper technology comes along, the old data is automatically able to propagate onto the new storage mechanisms. I see this all the time working in the IT industry. I have backups from 10 years ago I can not read because we no longer have a working tape drive to read it.

    You haven't lifted a finger to track down, replace and restore the tape drive you need.

    Why then should we be trusting our data to an (allegedly) fully automated - autonomous - system which is equally likely to be neglected and ignored?

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday October 02, 2010 @02:10AM (#33768556) Journal

    It is essential to the people who will sell us our culture in the future that we forget all that has gone before. If we remembered our heritage it would be necesary to innovate new things. If we can't, then recycled things will suffice - which cuts down the production cost.

    The goal therefore of the media giants is to make us nye culturne. A people devoid of culture. They're having great success at this.

    An opposing project would be Musopen [musopen.com].

  • by symbolset (646467) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @02:29AM (#33768616) Journal

    That's like, forever, man.

    Kid, the Library of Congress was founded in 1800 - longer ago than your grandfather's grandfather's dad could remember. 210 years ago. Most of the stuff they had then, they still have now. They're not worried about preserving the top40 from your middle school days until you're disrespecting it in college. They want to be the repository for our culture forever. They're sort of like preemptive anthropologists and archaeologists. They know that you don't care but they're expecting that someone, someday will because cultural sensitivity is a cyclical thing.

    It's customary that new generations forget what has gone before and then rediscover it as if it were a new thing. This forgetting is not required. If we can quit forgetting then artists can stand on the shoulders of giants once again and build things of great and complex beauty like they once did.

    Given the current state of copyright though, you can't whistle any four notes in a row in public without getting sued. Anything like a symphony is right out.

  • by icannotthinkofaname (1480543) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @03:29AM (#33768816) Journal

    I just re-watched "Voyage of the Damned" several hours ago. :)

    However, I disagree that that's anything like this problem. In that episode, Mr. Copper wasn't from Earth to begin with. A closer match to this story might be the misinformation possessed by Lady Cassandra O'Brien.17 in the episode "The End of the World" (2005, ep 2) (although in Cassandra's defense, she's separated from the 20th century by about five billion Earth years).

  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @03:33AM (#33768828)
    There are some difficulties in classifying that have become more prominent in recent decades. Authors put lies or obvious fictions in what are nominally non-fiction books, such as Bill Bryson's travelog "A Walk In the Woods". In the other direction, large sections of Frederick Forsyth's books, nominally fiction, are detailed and insightful descriptions of current events. What's a classifier to do?
  • Re:300 years... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @04:17AM (#33768930) Journal

    But will Memorex still be there in 300 years, to sue them if their claim proved false?

  • by Yacoob Al-Atawi (1192531) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @05:05AM (#33769062)
    Over here it is next month!
  • Re:300 years... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:49AM (#33769348)

    Salt would be good to keep moisture down.

  • by Reziac (43301) * on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:59PM (#33770788) Homepage Journal

    On that note, I was appalled at what I saw on the discard table at my university's library. Huge pile of old technical and research volumes, some dating to the mid-1800s. Outdated? Yeah. Often wrong? Sure. But a snapshot of the state of science at the time, which is itself a valuable historical resource.

    We no longer believe in (most of) the gods and demons our ancestors did, but it's still culturally useful to have information on the beliefs of the era. We no longer practice the styles of government, the human sacrifices, and whatever else our ancestors did, but it's still valuable to know where we came from. Add more examples as the spirit moves you.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine

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