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From fragile early wax recordings to today's podcasts, the nation's audio heritage is at peril, a report from the Library of Congress has concluded. The report, an outgrowth of a 2000 law mandating the Library of Congress to put together a national media preservation plan, found that efforts to preserve sound recordings are a haphazard patchwork threatened by poor funding and technical skills, copyright restrictions and, in the case of modern recordings, the very ephemeral nature of the Internet.
Never mind old software. Mind, I think the idea that we will not be able to use MP3s in 10-15 years is.. not likely. We still use Jpeg, despite the fact that it was made more than that length of time in the past, as a means to store digital copies of full sized photos (where one didn't worry about quality, since the final "print" was scaled down so much the artifacts disappeared anyway). Even if Google has its way and implements its new format, and people adopt it (horrible idea, imho), we will still see converters for the old formats forever, just as there are converters for nearly every image format ever developed, often in the very applications used to create new content, like Photoshop.
If anything, the computer industry recognizes that its fairly trivial to include, in most cases, an importer/converter. Its the rest of the world that has a problem, where the technology is *not* digital, the method of recover mechanical in nature, and the ownership, even if known, often tied up in so much, "I want money for that", thinking that **as I type this** probably 3-4 old films have decayed to the point of unrecoverability. (Well, maybe not that fast, but possibly within the next few days.)
We don't have the people, the money to pay greedy companies, or, as the article points out, any way to archive and/or salvage such works, **especially** if they actually *do* still belong to some studio, which may have not even opened the door to the warehouse they are in for 10-15 years.