World Digital Archive

Does programming make you dream in binary?

I had a bit of a fever dream. You know how much media gets lost every second? More than you can imagine.

Games, comics, movies, TV shows, fansubs(hey remember all those stylized, burnt in karaoke subs european anime channels used to show?). If you want to get into anything that’s not super popular and go through its history you need an archeology degree to even begin searching for the first issue of your comic.

You might think pirates have it all, there must be some horribly preserved 240p version somewhere, but not even that is available. It might have been at one point, but the person who recorded the dubbed shows that made it all popular in your country died, people just stopped seeding, they lost their data, sold their hdd’s for crack, or any number of things.

Other than the US and some weird places piracy is generally tolerated by the state. You can’t really steal a digital file, it’s just 0’s and 1’s. This isn’t really about defending those with skulls and bones on their flag, but about preservation, and they’re the only ones who seem to do it right, but does it have to be this way?

Imagine a Digital Archive where publishers and artists of any kind would securely store their work in as raw form as possible to be preserved for future generations in case it is lost or unpublished. The technology to keep this properly encrypted and not accessed by foul hands or any one person’s individual hands is there, and needing multiple people’s keys for access has been a thing for so many state and corporate secrets for eternity.

You can submit the data directly encrypted without anyone ever seeing it until the key holders get together after the death of a product. I don’t really care about but it’s not their fault blabla legal limbos, it’s not as if they didn’t cause them on their own. And don’t simp for corporations, they have literally, knowingly killed or caused the death of people all over the world.

You want to release an online only game? Sure, but the server code goes in the Digital Archive in case you kill the game. You want to release a comic? Sure, but it goes in the Archive.

Hold up there, Mao

Yeah I don’t like people taking my property either, but in the vast majority of cases it isn’t people, but corporations. Since corporations are massively profiting from the work of millions of artists who mostly never get their fair share, they should at least be forced to preserve all that work for the future, with normal people having the ability and being highly encouraged to preserve their work.

I want the artists and corporations they work for to profit and become trillionaires from making amazing media that lasts through the ages, all the wealth in the world to them, but not at the expense of the art or of people.

This will of course never happen because of copyright law, but imagine what it could be if laws stopped protecting the interests of corporations first? I’m sure most artists would want their work preserved.


Have you ever noticed how the audio in the original Dragon Ball as well as Dragon Ball Z sucks? Well, back in the day TV shows had the film and optical audio on one tape, and the master audio on a different tape. With the size of those things you can imagine this can get quite bulky, so they’d wipe the latter to save space and reuse the tape, and they’d also eventually wipe the video for the same purposes.

This did start changing in the 80’s, but due to partly moral, partly financial reasons, Toei did not adapt quickly enough. The master audio for the entirety of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z was lost.

What about that optical audio?

It would have been fine, but unlike wine, years later this broke down into what you hear today, a muddy, faded, noisy mess.

Excuse my cropping

But you might have not heard this audio if you’ve only recently watched Dragon Ball. You might have actually heard something like this:

Excuse my cropping

So what’s going on? It’s a story about the internet, diehard fans, pirates, holding lost media hostage, and it all started with someone called kei.

But that’s a very long and complex story that I still need to do a lot of research for, so I’ll make that its own post.


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