Re: [Videolib] Copying lost works

MileFilms@aol.com
Thu, 6 May 2004 14:08:22 EDT

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Okay, I've stayed out of this, but enough's enough. You think Jessica can
rant? Just hold on tight...

These arguments are completely missing the bigger picture and wasting time
that could be better spent reading Video Librarian much less the Milestone
catalog. ;-)

What's shocking to me is that people actually think that a two-cent plastic
disk or ten-cent tape bought for $19.95 is going to be immortal! How many
libraries and patrons gladly pay for replacing books (like the one my beagle ate
last month) while complaining about replacing Pee Wee's Big Adventure. (A worthy
addition to any library...)

Looking at the facts, sadly,
most books aren't made to be permanent (all that acid reflux, so to
speak)
under good conditions, nitrate film actually may actually last longer
than safety acetate film
video and digital masters that DO last may find that in fifty years
there is no equipment to play them on.
video tapes, cds and DVDs have the most variable life expectency in
creation.

Videolib should REALLY stop these inane conversations about "saving" a VHS
cassette and be talking about preservation and restoration of master film, video
and digital materials. There are going to be thousands of works in the next
decade or two that will rot away because there is no "commercial" value to them
-- a lot of them are those treasured only among the libraries and media
centers. Am I making up a story based on unfounded crap out of the recesses of my
mind (like the hope that the Nets can win the NBA championship this year) or is
this the truth? The answer is, trust me on this one.

While most places are literally tossing away their 16mm prints or giving them
to for-profit entities (much of this going against the original licensed
agreements) that put them out on ebay, the Donnell Media Center in NYC received a
$500,000 grant to preserve and restore the unique (and I mean the sole
existing in most cases) 16mm prints in their collection. Marie Nesthus, Joe Yranski,
David Callahan and the rest of the Donnell staff deserved awards for their
incredible efforts.

I sponsored the concept of the New York State Council of the Arts funding the
non-profit distributors to help pay for the release of their films on DVD
with the expectation that the film materials will be preserved during the course
of the film-to-tape transfers. The first recipient two years ago was Women
Make Movies with a project for ten releases. I'm hoping others will follow.

Will the ALA set up a similar grant? Will media librarians get together and
encourage these small distributors to bring out certain titles? Will
individuals donate a few bucks a month to local and national archives for the
preservation of independent films and video? Will more librarians attend the Association
of Moving Image Archivists conference (this year it's in Minneapolis) to
learn about preserving their own collections?

Jed -- how's the indiscrimate copying of "owned" materials pay for this
preservation? And it doesn't even matter for God's sake. Do what the hell you want.
Hopefully, librarians will have the proper knowledge from reading real
sources of information to make their own decisions. They're good at that.

Obviously, this problem is something I believe strongly in and have devoted
much of the last twenty years to do something to remedy this conditions. I
don't ask for a similar insane commitment since librarians do extremely valuable
work to begin with, but discussion and reasonable action would be nice.

As for those who this does not apply to, assume away (as they say in The
Producers) that I'm talking about the others.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
Website: http://www.milestonefilms.com

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Okay, I've stayed out of this, but enough's enough. You think Jessica can ra= nt? Just hold on tight...

These arguments are completely missing the bigger picture and wasting time t= hat could be better spent reading Video Librarian much less the Milestone ca= talog. ;-)

What's shocking to me is that people actually think that a two-cent plastic=20= disk or ten-cent tape bought for $19.95 is going to be immortal! How many li= braries and patrons gladly pay for replacing books (like the one my beagle a= te last month) while complaining about replacing Pee Wee's Big Adventure. (A= worthy addition to any library...)

Looking at the facts, sadly,
     most books aren't made to be permanent (all that ac= id reflux, so to speak)
     under good conditions, nitrate film actually may ac= tually last longer than safety acetate film
     video and digital masters that DO last may find tha= t in fifty years there is no equipment to play them on.
     video tapes, cds and DVDs have the most variable li= fe expectency in creation.

Videolib should REALLY stop these inane conversations about "saving" a VHS c= assette and be talking about preservation and restoration of master film, vi= deo and digital materials. There are going to be thousands of works in the n= ext decade or two that will rot away because there is no "commercial" value=20= to them -- a lot of them are those treasured only among the libraries and me= dia centers. Am I making up a story based on unfounded crap out of the reces= ses of my mind (like the hope that the Nets can win the NBA championship thi= s year) or is this the truth? The answer is, trust me on this one.

While most places are literally tossing away their 16mm prints or giving the= m to for-profit entities (much of this going against the original licensed a= greements) that put them out on ebay, the Donnell Media Center in NYC receiv= ed a $500,000 grant to preserve and restore the unique (and I mean the sole=20= existing in most cases) 16mm prints in their collection. Marie Nesthus, Joe=20= Yranski, David Callahan and the rest of the Donnell staff deserved awards fo= r their incredible efforts.

I sponsored the concept of the New York State Council of the Arts funding th= e non-profit distributors to help pay for the release of their films on DVD=20= with the expectation that the film materials will be preserved during the co= urse of the film-to-tape transfers. The first recipient two years ago was Wo= men Make Movies with a project for ten releases. I'm hoping others will foll= ow.

Will the ALA set up a similar grant? Will media librarians get together and=20= encourage these small distributors to bring out certain titles? Will individ= uals donate a few bucks a month to local and national archives for the prese= rvation of independent films and video? Will more librarians attend the Asso= ciation of Moving Image Archivists conference (this year it's in Minneapolis= ) to learn about preserving their own collections?

Jed -- how's the indiscrimate copying of "owned" materials pay for this pres= ervation? And it doesn't even matter for God's sake. Do what the hell you wa= nt. Hopefully, librarians will have the proper knowledge from reading real s= ources of information to make their own decisions. They're good at that.

Obviously, this problem is something I believe strongly in and have devoted=20= much of the last twenty years to do something to remedy this conditions. I d= on't ask for a similar insane commitment since librarians do extremely valua= ble work to begin with, but discussion and reasonable action would be nice.<= BR>
As for those who this does not apply to, assume away (as they say in The Pro= ducers) that I'm talking about the others.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
Website: http://www.milestonefilms.com
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