Washington, D.C., Public Hearing: Volume 4
Report of the Librarian of Congress
Table of Contents
MR. TABB: Will you please take your seats? I think it is time for us to begin.
Good morning. I am Winston Tabb, the Associate Librarian, Library of Congress and I am pleased to welcome all of you to the Library of Congress' third and final hearing on the Current State of American Television and Video Preservation.
I want to remind all of you to sign the guest register just outside the back of the room, please.
The purpose of this hearing is to get specific suggestions for the Library of Congress to consider in preparing the comprehensive national program on American television and video preservation for the United States Congress.
The pertinent issues include what should be saved, who is doing it, who should do it, what are the technical preservation standards and problems, how to be assured that they are addressed and perhaps most important, how to fund--what funding models seem most promising.
This hearing is undertaken in accordance with the directive of Congress to the Library of Congress to "establish and maintain in the Library of Congress, a library as an American television and radio archives. "The purpose of the archives shall be to preserve a permanent record of the television and radio programs which are the heritage of the people of the United States and provide access to such programs to historians and scholars without encouraging or causing copyright infringement."
I regret that the person who is responsible for accomplishing this objective of the Library of Congress, Dr. Billington, has been called away from Washington today, but he has asked that I read the remarks that he just made at the two previous hearings that we have held in Los Angeles and New York. So, I am going to read this for the record. STATEMENT OF DR. BILLINGTON, PRESENTED BY WINSTON TABB
MR. TABB: Not long ago, I was a witness before our House Appropriations Committee and I am happy to tell you that it is much better to be on this side of table listening to other people testify.
Today's hearing may not carry the legal and fiscal implications of a Congressional hearing, but it is an important event for the Library of Congress and the archival community and for everyone who shares our concern about preservation of our television and video legacy.
Our first two public hearings held in Los Angeles and New York were very productive. The panels there heard statements from archives, major studios, networks and educators and from others who share our goals.
We hear encouraging reports from the major producers of prime-time programming, because as commercial enterprises, they have sufficient economic incentives to maintain their materials under reasonably good conditions and thus ensure availability for future use.
On the other hand, we heard from much smaller organizations with little or no resources to safeguard and preserve the valuable television and video materials in their care.
As might be expected, the witnesses expressed views and opinions as varied as the organizations they represented, a testament in itself to how television and video has become embedded in American life and culture.
This is the last of three public hearings the Library of Congress will conduct this month. These are intended to help develop a report on the Current State of American Television and Video Preservation and even more important, a plan listing recommendations.
Both the report and plan will be published later this year as a single document. This activity is authorized under the American Television and Radio Act of 1976 and is being pursued in response to a recommendation from the National Film Preservation Board and from many groups and individuals who helped draft Redefining Film Preservation: A National Plan, which the Library published in 1994.
The American Television and Radio Act authorizes the Library of Congress to establish and maintain an archives whose purpose is to preserve a permanent record of the broadcast programs which are our heritage.
These hearings and the report to follow will help the Library develop the actual policies to ensure that we can carry out this work in concert with other archives and libraries and with production and broadcast organizations.
These hearings and the report parallel our earlier film preservation study in several important ways. First, we seek the same goals. That is, to preserve the American television and video heritage and make it more accessible for educational use.
Second, we wish to obtain a wide range of views and opinions representative of the diverse interest that exists in the creation, preservation and research use of moving images in all its aspects, including arts and entertainment, news and documentary, public affairs, video art and community video, just to name some of the large categories.
Third, we wish to encourage other archives and libraries to work with us to accomplish the very difficult task of preserving television and video and making them available.
Finally, we wish to address the problems of funding television and video preservation programs both in public archives and industry, which is no easy task at a time when resources are scarce, particularly relative to the preservation workload ahead.
Public-private partnerships are essential. During the course of these hearings, we hope to receive your recommendations on how this partnership can be established.
There are other parallels with the film preservation report worth mentioning. Like American film, much of the early history of television has already been lost. Broadcasts were live and kinescope or film recordings were used selectively.
Ampex introduced videotape recording technology in 1956 and since then the industry has manufactured or adopted numerous incompatible video formats, making technological obsolescence a major archival issue.
Like nitrocellulose, the staple of the film industry until 1951, videotape has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. We have entrusted our historical and cultural images to videotape and yet it is highly vulnerable to degradation and destruction.
Like film, everything associated with vide preservation is expensive, including specialize storage facilities, electronic equipment, a skilled technical staff and reformatting costs.
The very notion of reformatting large collections of videotape is a daunting one, because their volume already exceeds the means of most organizations.
Yet the rewards for safeguarding and preserving our television and video heritage are immeasurable. No one can fully understand who we are as a people and what we have become as a society without having access to the recordings created by television and video production during the last 50 years.
Historians, sociologists and other scholars, even politicians and parents, debate the causal relationship of television to the society at large. In the future, such debates will be fruitless if the historical evidence does not survive.
In conclusion, the Library of Congress encourages all of you at the audience to write down your opinions and recommendations which we will collect up until April 29.
Today we will hear from a number of distinguished individuals, some professionals in the field, others representing important organizations that share our goal of preserving American television and video.
On behalf of the Library of Congress, I want to thank all of you who have taken time from your busy schedules to participate in this event and especially those of you who have come from out of town at your own expense. We appreciate your interest and concern and will ensure that your efforts are not in vain.
MR. TABB: Before we actually begin the hearing, I want to take a few minutes to thank those who have been most responsible for getting us here today. One is sitting beside me, David Francis, who is chief of the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
Steve Leggett, who is standing at the back, always ready to jump and help us do whatever needs to be done. Finally, Bill Murphy, who is on loan to us from the National Archives and Records Administration, serving this year as our project coordinator.
I would now like to introduce our panelists. I already mentioned David, who is on my left. On my right is Frank Burke who is now Professor at the University of Maryland, the College of Library and Information Science, but also is known to many of us as the former acting archivist of the United States.
It gives me particular pleasure to introduce to all of you--most of who may know Barbara already--Barbara Ringer, who is the Register of Copyrights Emerita, but I think also for today we should refer to her as the mother of this ATRA Act.
Someone who is very responsible for getting this law enacted and who has waited very patiently for 20 years for the Library to really take this as seriously as we ought to have done. So this is both a public apology, Barbara, and a thank you for coming and helping us continue this work that you began so long ago.
MS. RINGER: My pleasure.
MR. TABB: Now just a few minutes on the ground rules. We are very pleased that 26 people have asked to testify today, but given our time restraints, we will have to ask that everyone make their remarks in ten minutes or less and try to focus particularly on suggestions, not just on description.
I will be fairly ruthless in wielding the gavel to be sure that the panel that is scheduled for the end of the day is not short changed.
We have organized the speakers into panels representing different focuses of our study and I will ask that each panel come to the table together and then let the speakers present their testimony in the order listed in the program that we distributed out in the lobby.
At this table, we will hold our questions until the end of each panel, unless there is a need for clarification about something that we cannot understand at all.
After all the speakers on the panel have given their prepared statements, I will invite my colleagues here to ask follow-up questions during the balance of the time allotted to that group.
All written comments and the transcripts of the proceedings today will be printed and available to the public as an appendix to the report that we submit to Congress later this year.
I remind you again that we will invite the speakers, observers, anyone else who has a strong interest in this matter, to submit written comments to Steve Leggett of our Motion Picture Division by April 29. The hearing record will remain open until that time.
All right. Now we will begin by calling our first two panelists. Will you please come forward to the table?
We are glad to welcome as our first panel Gerald George, who is the executive director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission on which I am also pleased to serve as a member.
A special welcome to George Stevens, Jr., formerly a member of the National Film Preservation Board and a long time friend to the Library of Congress.
Will you go ahead and begin, Jerry? STATEMENT OF GERALD GEORGE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HISTORICAL PUBLICATIONS AND RECORDS COMMISSION
MR. GEORGE: Thank you very much, Commissioner Tabb. I am glad that you called attention to the fact that you are a member of my Commission and with you at the table, along with Dr. Burke, my predecessor as director of NHPRC once removed, I feel very comfortable on this occasion.
In fact, if you have a number of questions I cannot answer, I not only will enlist the services of Ms. Laurie Baty, a program officer with the Commission who is with me, but I may very well just turn them over to Dr. Burke.
My testimony, by the way, will be within your ten-minute limit so there should be no problem.
I am, as you said, executive director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, which is better known by its more easily remembered initials, the NHPRC.
I congratulate the Library of Congress on its initiative in gathering information on the current state of American television and video preservation and I certainly welcome this opportunity to contribute.
The subject is one that has long concerned and in many ways perplexed my Commission and I will be speaking primarily to the funding questions--the funding parts of your information gathering agenda.
Our concern arises from the Commission's mission. When the Congress created the National Archives in 1934, it also created the NHPRC. It housed us within the National Archives and it charged us with promoting nationwide the preservation and publication of documents of particular importance for understanding American history.
In time, the Congress began appropriating some funds from which we could even make grants so that we could do more than just advocate attention to the source material on which historical study depends.
For awhile this seemed fairly simple. The NHPRC helped launch projects to publish the scholarly editions of the papers of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Edison, John Adams and Jane Addams and more recently of Dwight Eisenhower and Martin Luther King, just to take some examples.
But at the same time, we had some remarkable revelations. It has dawned on historians that America cannot be understood simply from the activities of its most exalted leaders and now it has dawned on us all that even for understanding those leaders, the best sources are not exclusively what they wrote.
Photographers, film makers, and video broadcasters have led us to that insight. They have handed historians an incredible resource--the actual person, the words as delivered, the unfolding event, all captured in images and most importantly in moving images.
Tonight's evening news documents contemporary history at every level. It also supports creation of the visual records own pedagogical form--the film or television documentary--which itself has expanded public access to historical insight far beyond the book, the lecture and the classroom.
What would we not give to have moving images from earlier times. How stirred we would be if archaeologists in ancient Rome turned up a canister of filmed reports by Walter Cronkitus or Daniel Ratheronius on debates in the Roman forum, spectacles in the Coliseum, Hannibal's crossing the Alps, Caesar's campaigns in Gaul and the daily concerns, say, of the ordinary "classical" family. No effort would seem too great to preserve such an unexpected glimpse of ancient history as it actually was. So why be careless with the recorded images we are making of our own history?
Accordingly, the NHPRC long ago, even during the days of Dr. Burke, recognized the value of television and video preservation for historical documentation, and we have acted on that recognition.
In 1987, the NHPRC granted funds to the American Film Institute's National Center for Film and Video Preservation to convene a national conference to plan for improving the care of local television news film collections and providing access to them.
More than 40 institutions, I understand, with collections of newsfilm sent representatives to this conference, the published proceedings of which expanded attention to news film collections and their preservation needs.
In 1991, the NHPRC gave another grant to the National Center for Film and Video Preservation, this time to help it create a local television news film curatorial manual. Persons with responsibility for collections of news film will find much- needed guidance in this manual for acquiring, organizing, preserving, cataloging, and providing access to moving-image materials.
These two projects for the National Center for Film and Video Preservation have not cost a huge amount of money--less than $100,000 from the NHPRC. But they have helped the Center organize attention to the need and then publish guidance for dealing with it.
Also, the NHPRC has invested nearly a half-million dollars of its grant funds in 11 projects to preserve collections of newsfilm and provide access to them in individual repositories. I am appending a list of those projects to this testimony, if that is agreeable.
From New York to California, from North Dakota to Mississippi, future scholars and the public are going to be able to get at least some glimpses of what life was like in 20th- century America and what our history looked like as it happened, thanks to the work of NHPRC grantees with news film and video collections.
We are proud of this record, but we recognize that it is a token. We have had enough money to help a few institutions save a few runs of newsfilm for posterity out of the millions of feet of material that television broadcasters produce every month.
The NHPRC's entire appropriation for grants this year is just $5,000,000, with which we have to try to meet all kinds of documentary preservation needs across the entire nation.
We are grateful to have even that much, but for perspective, please consider this. The published accounts of the production costs of Oliver Stone's latest historical film indicate that NHPRC's grant budget this year could have financed little more than 20 minutes of it and the entire cost was equal to our appropriations total for the last eight years.
Our era in history is the first that is able to document itself in moving images recorded as words were spoken and events occurred, but there is far more videotape and news film than there is money for their preservation. When an agency with resources no larger than the NHPRC's is a leading funder of moving image preservation, the limitations come clearly into view. Obviously we must press the argument for increasing the financing and I hope my remarks will be useful for that purpose.
But at the same time we must consider rigorously how we can use more meaningfully the funds we have, and I am not just talking about squeezing efficiencies out of projects. At the NHPRC, we are proud of our grant program processes. In evaluation applications for grants for video preservation and access, we judge the relative historical value of the collections to be preserved and the competence of the applicant institutions, and we fund as many projects as we can that score high on those tests. But we are asking ourselves a lot of questions. What material does not come into institutional collections whose directors write grant proposals? What are we missing? How much film and videotape of value is being destroyed or lost for future use while we are doing what we can to save a little? Is it possible to devise a documentary strategy for news film preservation of a kind that people are experimenting with in some other areas? What can we do to assure the people of this nation something more than a haphazard visual record of its remarkable history?
These are questions with which the Commission itself currently is struggling, and they need collaborative attention if we are to do anything more than request additional funding.
That is my view of where things stand, and I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your study. More than anything else, besides attention to the real funding needs, I think we also need to work out some means, some set of priorities, some collectively agreed upon standards for being sure that what we do preserve is what in fact is the most useful and most important with the very small resources that I have indicated we have.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission will welcome opportunities to work on this problem with the Library of Congress and any other organization concerned with saving the nation's irreplaceable cultural resources. We look forward to the outcome of the deliberations on which you are embarked. Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Jerry. Mr. Stevens? STATEMENT OF GEORGE STEVENS, JR., INDEPENDENT PRODUCER
MR. STEVENS: Thank you. I come here as a film maker, writer, producer and director and a friend of the work that the Library has been doing both in the field of motion picture preservation and now this new initiative in television.
When I was a young man in Hollywood cutting my teeth in the film world, there were few opportunities to see the films of the past. The studios that produced the films felt that what had gone before was past and all attention was paid to producing the hit pictures for the present.
The result was that the movies made during the first 50 years of the film industry were ignored. A majority of them were allowed to deteriorate in vaults or were melted down to recover the silver content of the negatives.
When I had the opportunity to start the American Film Institute in 1967, we made motion picture preservation our first priority. Though there were many films that we would never be able to find and others that were too deteriorated to preserve, we were successful in rallying a vanguard to the idea of rescuing and conserving our motion picture heritage and preserving films that otherwise would have been lost.
Among the legacies of that beginning are the over 20,000 feature films in the AFI collection in the Library of Congress and, equally important, the national awareness that the art and history that exists on motion picture film are essential aspects of the country's intellectual treasure and cultural heritage.
It became apparent to me during our work on film preservation in the early 1970's that there was another sphere of American creativity and communication that was beginning to be lost in the same way as the early motion pictures.
Television, which had taken its place on the American stage and was to a large degree eclipsing movie going as a pastime, was becoming a unique and primary record of our times and what the historian, Eric Barnouw, likened to "America's central nervous system."
But television was plunging forward with hardly any concern for the fact that it was also a large part of the historical record of our times.
We set out in 1975 to try to bring together the networks, producers and other institutions in a collaborative effort to focus on the preservation of our television heritage.
While that initiative called attention to the problem, there was little interest from government agencies, foundations and the industry. So today we really face a problem that has grown through the years.
When Bill Murphy invited me to testify at these hearings he told me that he had uncovered an article that I had written for the Washington Post in 1975. Fortunately the article was published on paper. I am certain that if it had been recorded on video it would have been lost in the intervening 21 years.
Mr. Murphy sent me the article in which I went on at greater length than I intend to today (three cheers for good judgment that comes with age) describing the horror stories of lost programs and the peril that continued inattention to saving and preserving television broadcasts would bring.
The article noted, for example, that by 1975 NBC had retained and catalogued 17,799 hours of programming, which was about seven percent of its total programming. 107,835 hours of NBC programming were listed simply as not retained.
From that day to this, a span of 21 years, the networks and stations have each day been producing programs and one suspects not doing much better in preserving them, particularly since the last decade has been a period of downsizing that caused considerable reduction of staff and infrastructure at the major networks.
During the years when the AFI, the Library of Congress, George Eastman House and the Museum of Modern Art served as a public interest consortium working to preserve our motion picture heritage, it is not an exaggeration to say we were viewed, at best, as a nuisance and, at worst, with hostility by the film studios whose motion pictures we were working to preserve.
That situation has much improved today. Most of the studios have created special vaults for storing their films and are instituting preservation standards and procedures.
Unfortunately, this awakening to the value and importance of the films they own came too late to save many of the finest motion pictures ever made.
I believe it is important to understand how this change in attitude at the major studios came about. The job description of the individuals now in charge of preservation is revealing. They are not given the traditional title of archivist. They are designated vice-presidents in charge of asset management.
The change in attitude came only when the studio owners realized that these old films that the public archives had been working to preserve for several decades had, with the arrival of home video, become assets.
I make this point because I believe television preservation is going to present a new set of problems. So much of the television material that must be saved is in the area of news and recorded history and I do not believe that the nightly news or the coverage of the Vietnam War or the advances in American science will ever have the asset value comparable to Casablanca or Singin' in the Rain.
The volume of existing material which needs to be preserved is staggering. The cost of preserving it will be great and each day and each year new material of value is being created.
So it seems to me that the admirable effort that Dr. Billington and the Library have undertaken will require special gifts of persuasion and organization. There can be no question that it is in the national interest for the view of our times as seen on television to be preserved.
When thinking about conserving that which is timeless, it seems sensible to look to the wisdom of the ancients. It was Cicero who said, "History is the witness of the times, the torch of the truth, the life of memory, the teacher of life, the messenger of antiquity."
Witness, memory, teacher and messenger, television is all of those things. Failure to preserve it will deny future generations of Americans vital legacy.
Preserving it will be a formidable task and it will require leadership at the national level at a time when national leadership is questioned, when the argument is to make all things local.
This is one example where national leadership must be the driving force to encourage the other institutions across the country to do what is necessary for the public good.
I salute the Library for its leadership. I of course pledge my cooperation and urge all institutions to collaborate in this most significant task. Thanks very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Question, David?
MR. BURKE: For Jerry George. The two major projects that you talked about were the grant for a plan given to the American Film Institute's National Center Film and Video Preservation and the curatorial manual.
As opposed to the other kinds of grants which are parcelling out small funds here and there for the preservation of local network material or local television materials at separate institutions, do you see the national role more one of stimulating bringing people together and planning and programming so that it can be carried out, rather than providing funds on individual preservation bases when there are so many of those projects that could be done?
MR. GEORGE: The answer to that is, yes, for both policy and pragmatic reasons. With appropriations at the level that ours have been, vis-a-vis the problems with which we are trying to help, advocacy must be a major part of the Commission's activity; bringing people together to try to solve problems for the field as a whole must be part of the activity. Making accessible nationwide the fruits of the products that we do fund, that is to say things that can be used by others, must be a major part of our activity, yes.
We do a great deal of that in the archival field in particular, and the two grants that you mentioned are representative of that.
MR. BURKE: Is that a pattern that you think that other government agencies or other government funding units should follow?
MR. GEORGE: Well, yes and no. The National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, some of the other federal agencies that have programs in conservation of cultural resources or preservation of cultural resources should help to the extent that they have sufficient funds to help specific projects. I mean those funds are needed if we are going to preserve anything.
But I think with our Commission in particular, given the Congressional mandate that as you know we were given to promote this kind of activity, as well as to make grants in support of it, we have a special role there, to look out for documentary preservation as a whole, and to encourage, promote, and advocate the attention of others, as well as ourselves, to these needs.
What other agencies will do in the reduced circumstance that many of them are facing, I do not know. In our own case, however many dollars we have, we also have a Congressional mandate to advocate and to help the field bring itself together around these problems and that is what we will continue to do.
MR. BURKE: Thank you.
MR. FRANCIS: Throughout these hearings we have heard particular concern expressed about local news film archives. As it is almost ten years since the Madison Conference you funded, I wondered whether you would consider the idea of funding another meeting, to take up the matter you raised about a strategy for newsfilm preservation.
If we could parcel off a small part of the problem and ask for the assistance of an organization like yours, it would be extremely helpful.
I do not know whether you feel that is something that would fit within your terms of reference, but I think it would be extremely useful.
MR. GEORGE: Well, there is no question about it that we would be interested. I say that in hope of Commissioner Tabb's blessing on that rather firm pronouncement, but I think I may say that safely, because the NHPRC makes its grants in accordance with the strategic plan that we implemented some three years ago, which sets forth categories by priority of what we want to fund and what we want to help bring about. Within that strategic plan, one of its objectives is to attempt to form or assist collaborative endeavors to deal with some of these issues.
If someone were to put together a very strong grant proposal to try to establish priorities for newsfilm preservation or work out a documentary strategy for that purpose with which a number of others were agreed, we would be most interested in that kind of proposal. The sooner it comes the better, given the vagaries of the funding situation, but yes, we would be interested.
MS. RINGER: Let me make a few personal remarks to begin with. I cannot tell you how gratified I am to see this initiative being taken in the Library, even if it is 20 years late.
I have felt exactly the way you all obviously feel for many, many years. As a staff member of the Library of Congress, I was aware that the policies and practices here in the 1960's and 1970's, when the problem of television news archives was beginning to come to a boil, were hit or miss. Acquisition policies were largely based on copyright deposits and were a very hodgepodge business.
An opportunity arose when the big revision of the copyright law was going through in the mid-1970's. Because of the Vanderbilt litigation and Senator Baker's interest in it, there was a way to open the door for the Library of Congress to develop a national archive. It is amazing to me the hostility that produced here and elsewhere.
The Congressional mandate was there, but the implementation did not get off the ground. I was aware of the institutional hostility and I had other things to do. I did not try to push it that hard, because I could not. It was just not possible.
But I was aware that sooner or later the tape would come around again and people would realize the opportunity they were missing and try to do something about it. It is a pity that we are encountering this new positive attitude now, at a time when we do not have any money.
Has there been any thought of private funding, major private funding, by foundations, individuals and corporations? I know there is no such thing as a free lunch in this. If people give you money they want something in return. That is human nature. But, nevertheless, is there any major current activity to find funding sources?
MR. GEORGE: Well, Mr. Stevens may be able to speak to that more effectively.
MS. RINGER: I am asking my question to both of you.
MR. GEORGE: This would be my response. Within the Commission, with our grants, we made a calculation recently that told us that for every dollar, every federal dollar we spend on the projects we support, there are two other dollars from other sources in their budgets and most of those are private dollars. The grant applicants who come to us frequently show, and in fact we look for this and encourage this, that they have approached private sources and are trying to build their budgets in that way. That makes a great deal of difference to us, because if we can co-fund a project, that gets more mileage out of our own few dollars.
But you know, I think, as well as I do, that this is a very difficult time for private sector fund raising, as well, if only because of the volume of the number of institutions there of all kinds that are turning to private corporations and foundations for support, and in part because of their losing funds from public revenue sources.
So the competition there is fierce as well as for our dollars. Whether we have adequately tapped the possibilities for private sector funding in this area, I do not know, but I do know that while I would certainly encourage efforts to do more private sector fund raising, I am also keenly aware that there are limits to what can be expected.
That again is what brings me back to recommending to you the consideration of some kind of documentary strategy in this area as in others, because however much additional funds we are able to generate from whatever sources, they are not going to be enough to save all the collections that people would like to save.
Mr. Stevens may wish to speak to private funding. I do not know.
MR. STEVENS: Well, maybe not that, but I think that word "strategy," which David picked up which you advanced and David Francis picked up on is so important.
I think the Library is doing exactly the right thing. I think this process of calling all of these institutions, giving them an opportunity to testify, which in turn causes them to assess when they are doing, to create an awareness within the community that is concerned or should be concerned with this activity.
I think it is exactly the right thing to do and I think the key beyond that is persistence. I think that if you can set a mechanism where something will happen every six months or every year that it reminds people of this obligation and the importance of it.
I think gradually the good work will be done. Obviously, the idea would be sweeping funding and to apply it and systematically get all of this done, but that will not happen and failing that, I think individual and institutional initiative.
David Francis and I were talking earlier about the motion picture preservation and just to speak briefly of it, I realize that while during the time I was running the American Film Institute and we were concerning ourselves with the great films and the lost films of the teens, 20's, 30's, 40's, it never occurred to me that at the very time I was doing that, the classics that my father had made in the 50's and 60's were going to deteriorate.
I set off some alarm bells a few years ago when I testified here and said that the negative to A Place in the Sun had been lost. Paramount got up in arms.
I must say in the intervening two years, I told Sherry Lansing, who is the chairman of Paramount, about it and she said, "We will do everything possible to preserve A Place in the Sun-- and they are doing it. They are spending a lot of money on it.
What I am leading towards is I think that there is an aspect of this that individual producers, directors, creators should be encouraged to watch out for their own films.
I think they should be brought into your councils and reminded, because I now realize as I am working on my father's films and films that I have made that are at these companies, I realize that they are not quite sure where those are and they are only 12, 14 years old.
I think one new idea is to encourage individuals to understand that it is part of their responsibility to find out where their films are. In that line, I would just say that most of us who make films do not think that way, because we have not had the experience.
It does not occur to us. That we are moving along doing the next one. We have just done our 24th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award show and we did our 18th Kennedy Center Honors.
I mean the case of the Kennedy Center Honors, I know I am the only one who knows where the tapes are and they are only preserved because I ask the question every couple of years. Where are these things? What quality are they? Have we transferred the early ones to the standard?
That is just a suggestion that individuals be encouraged and informed and brought into this.
MR. FRANCIS: I want to follow up on that. I wonder whether, if we worked together, we could look at the television programs you have produced and see how well they have been preserved. The results could form an appendix to the report. It could be a model for others to follow.
I do not know whether you would be agreeable to that. It would be a very powerful addition to the report.
MR. STEVENS: David, at the risk of great personal embarrassment, when we discovered that what I have said is not true, I would welcome it. We should be happy to do that. You just tell me how we need to proceed.
MR. TABB: All right. Thank you very much. We appreciate your testimony.
I will invite to the table the next group of panelists, our educators. Before I invite the panelists of this group to begin speaking, I would like to take one moment to introduce a very distinguished member of our audience.
Mr. Bob Saudek, the former chief of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division and a distinguished pioneer of the industry that we are hearing so much about today. Bob, we are very glad to see you and glad that you joined us today. All right. Let's begin with Mr. Culbert. STATEMENT OF DAVID CULBERT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR MEDIA AND HISTORY (IAMHIST), EDITOR HISTORICAL JOURNAL OF FILM, RADIO AND TELEVISION, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, BATON ROUGE
MR. CULBERT: I would say that the issue for the preservation of television video is much more acute than the issue for the preservation of film and I think this point has already been underscored.
I was re-reading the testimony from the 1993 hearings before coming up here and my colleague and friend, Doug Gomery, made that very point even while testifying about film. Preservation of television is a more acute problem.
I am very concerned about the disappearance of local television news, as well as issues of access, but I thought it also would be helpful to underscore, for example, the difficulties encountered in scholarly use of television and video materials.
The historical profession we historians know is acutely conservative. It is my understanding that situation in the United States is not different in the United Kingdom and is not different in Germany. The historical profession for the most part is not dominated by persons whose central research interests have to do with the mass media; scholarly preferment goes primarily to persons publishing books in areas that do not in fact make the issue of mass media a central concern.
The journal which I edit, the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, opens its pages to those who wish to be published without payment, the same pay that brings me here to these hearings (I will be getting my Greyhound bus ticket back home in just a few hours.).
The fact is that of submissions to that journal, if I may add statistical precision to what is primarily a seat-of-the- pants estimate, I would say 70% of the submissions which I receive have as the subject of inquiry film, 20% television, and 10% radio, that 10% being perhaps adjusted upwards.
The fact is that television is not being studied in an important way by scholars who ought to include it in writing about topics that deal with the 20th century. For television, let us say from 1950 on, scholars are not making use of video materials in their writing, or if they do, they are relying on print summaries, which all-too-often are by persons writing for style sections offering impressions of these programs.
A book which deals centrally with media-related issues, saying nothing about the visual part of video materials, may very well receive splendid reviews by those who do not believe that it is important for a book dealing with television or the impact of television on political decision-making to analyze the visual component of visual materials.
I would suggest that in giving thought to what needs to be preserved, it would be very useful to study, shall we say, the footnotes in the scholarly apparatus of scholars who have in fact made use of video materials in their research.
Now to the issue of funding. I remember Jim Billington indicating that everyone was in favor of film preservation in the 1993 hearings, but who is to pay for it. The opening of a West Coast Museum of Television and Broadcasting suggests, not surprisingly, that though it is always hard to shake a buck out of someone, some persons can do this, even if the funding of a fine building is always easier than finding funding for other things. To those who suggest that there is no money in the private sector it seems to me the answer is that an expensive building was just put up.
I would suggest that since people like to have things named after them, I do not see why it is inherently impossible not to consider naming someone who is providing substantial funding for the preservation and transfer of video; perhaps each cassette should have on it "given thanks to the support of."
It is not true that it is impossible to get funding for video preservation, but I think we all agree that it is easier to find funding to put up a building, though that is hard, than funding for preservation.
The issue of access is not being effectively dealt with in my opinion by the industry itself. I am talking about access for scholars who could take the pledge: I would like to be rich if I knew how, but I ended up in the world of scholarship because I do not know how to get rich.
Years ago, when CBS was riding high, it had an imperious, oft-iterated slogan, "CBS does not sell the face or voice of a network commentator." Well, now it will. Bill Murphy alerted me to this welcome change from the good old days. I decided to spend my money as an educator so I faxed CBS archvist Doug McKinney to see if I could get something that I need for classroom use.
Back indeed came a fax saying that CBS would sell me, since I had provided the name of the program and the exact date, a CBS program for classroom use only.
The cost would be $100 an hour; I should prepay $207 using a credit card and the material could not be returned for any reason whatsoever and it would take six weeks.
I am happy to say that they got the material to me promptly, but there are not very many persons, myself included, who would regularly spend what might seem to someone as a very small sum, but not to a person who feels that the purchase of video materials on the home video market at $9.95 or $19.95 for things that people use in classrooms is a reasonable sum. $100 an hour without knowledge of what one is getting would suggest that CBS considers scholarly access a profit-making operation.
My next concern is the issue of frame enlargements and stills and I am very concerned about this. My proposal would be that the American Radio and Television Act be amended so as to provide scholarly use and reproduction of frame enlargements and stills for video as well as for film.
I have been interested in this subject and it seems very clear to me that no one is prepared to be the test case and instead we are here dealing with what I would characterize as government inertia.
I am not at all satisfied with the explanation that this is an area that is in doubt and we do not know. I have brought with me and thought I would submit to you examples of the technological problems involved in making frame enlargements. For video, particularly in dealing with copies that may be made from poor-quality video cassettes, the technical capacity of the reproduction of a freeze frame image is such that it is sometimes almost impossible, using the best technology, to get an image that is of sufficient quality to meet the standards of a large press's art department.
I have in the journal in which I edit been very keen to accepting articles about television and have in fact found that video frame enlargements can be used and that they are sufficiently clear so that one can see the image.
Now the matter of permissions from Hollywood studios. I have brought with me an example of what I consider to be a rather rapacious standard contract provided by 20th Century Fox. I thought 20th Century Wolf might be a better description. Someone has dreamed up a standard contract which made me an offer I could refuse.
Since nobody knows whether frame enlargements and/or stills can or cannot be used without written permission, 20th Century Fox says when in doubt hit them for all you can get.
With this contract I conclude my remarks. "The licensee may not use the stills on the cover." In the section for releases, "written releases from all individuals whose likenesses or performances are contained in the stills" are required. All persons. How about a crowd scene?
"Written releases from any unions or guilds, to the extent required under applicable collective bargaining agreements" are required in connection with the use of the stills.
Poor Professor X has to ascertain whether these bargaining arrangements are or are not applicable. You can imagine that the union, hard up for money these days, will want its own fee and a censorship clause.
"The publication shall not be derogatory to or critical of the entertainment industry or of Fox or any officer, director, agent, employee, affiliate, parent or subsidiary of Fox or of any motion picture produced or distributed by Fox and the stills will not be used in a manner which would be derogatory to or critical of the motion picture from which the stills were taken or to the persons involved with the making of the motion picture from which the stills were taken."
It is certainly an invitation, shall we say, to an appreciative approach to the history of the entertainment history in America, but it is preposterous.
The situation is very clear. It is unclear. There is no clear sense of what constitutes fair use. There is no consensus amongst publishers. I brought with me examples that I thought I should at least leave anonymous, lest the publishers ride me out of town on a rail for naming names, but I happen to have these names and have the documents.
This lack of consensus is not based on hearsay. Press X says, you may use frame enlargements, but not stills, without permission from the copyright holder. Press Y says, you may use stills, but not frame enlargements. Press Z, one that I have worked with and others at this table have worked with, says if you do not have everything in triplicate, you cannot use anything.
I submit to you that this is a very serious brake on our conservative historical profession's analysis of a visual medium. When you make it so incredibly difficult to even think about reproducing a video enlargement you effectively leave a visual medium consigned to a position in which the visual can only be described in words, if that. Thanks to the technical limitations of video frame enlargements, the visual almost never appears in the writing about television. Historians must have fair use of video frame enlargements, and film frame enlargements in writing about film and television. The Copyright Act must be clarified by the federal government. That is more than ten minutes.
MR. TABB: Thank you very much. Mr. Gomery, welcome back. STATEMENT OF DOUGLAS GOMERY, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK, PROFESSOR, COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM
MR. GOMERY: Thank you. I will try to do less than ten minutes, although I know we academics are programmed for 50 minutes. So this will require everything that I can summon up.
In that spirit, I will not read. I will try to make my couple of points. Just to start with, I want to agree in a general yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. We are losing things as we speak faster than they can be saved.
Yes, frame enlargement is absolutely a very important position. I once worked on a book on Disney in which there is no reproductions of a Disney film or television show, because Disney would not sign off on the condition that we "had something derogatory to say about them".
We should save the news absolutely. I think the general point which is very, very important is that and I am very sympathetic with 20th Century Fox. These are profit centers. These are profit making corporations.
They are not in the business of archival work nor do they pretend to be. That is an ancillary product of what they do.
So with those yes's, I want to make just two larger points. I know my colleagues are going to eloquently say I think things that are very important so I would like to say things that I think are over arching and I suppose to the public would be what old fuddy duddy tenure professors can say and get away with and raise that others will not, because they feel they are running a journal or doing something else. This is what my mother told me tenure was for.
I think we should try to save everything. I think one of the things that worries me a lot is this whole value system. The value system is, we are all familiar with it, hierarchy one is historical figures in the news.
If I had a reproduction of Napoleon, would it not be wonderful? That is what I call it. I think that is really to short for future.
To try to shock the group here, I agree with Newt Gingrich, a former professor, when he says we ought to worry a lot about what we present to future generations. I think that this is not saving the budget for future generations. This is passing them a cultural legacy that if we erase it, it is not there.
So it is very, very important and I think it is very important that we do not lose sight of values of what is important. I was struck writing this testimony you think about how much struggle I had getting into the Vermeer exhibit.
Now if you go back and study Vermeer's life, you understand that we do not even know how many paintings Vermeer produced in his life. There is a wonderful book in which they estimate 57.3.
While we have a certain number that we know and they did a wonderful job collecting those together, but we do not even know what was left. My imagination was, would it not be wonderful if the Dutch had had a preservation program back when Vermeer died or the guilds or the unions or somebody had said, maybe we should save some of this stuff.
This guy Vermeer is not important now, but maybe in a few hundred years people will line up around the block and bribe their Congressmen to get in and push and shove, et cetera, et cetera.
So, I think we should be very careful of what we think is valuable to pass on to future generations. One of my current obsessions is Patsy Cline. Someone who falls far lower in the value structure than news, et cetera, et cetera, but Patsy Cline is the largest selling female recording artist for country music in history.
Her greatest hits album is selling now at 750,000 copies per year. She has been dead for 33 years. People are going in basements trying to discovery stuff. Well, Patsy Cline was on Washington, D.C. television every week, every Saturday night for a year and a half.
Do we have any record of that? Absolutely not. Zero. So the same way that poor Vermeer may have painted masterpieces that we will never know about because they were not saved and were scattered about and not valued at the time, Vermeer did not paint famous people, Vermeer did not paint what we considered to be important subjects.
He had painted streets and little subjects and rooms. My favorite, the Milkmaid, a person pouring milk. I mean that is not going to make a lot of money. That is not a valued subject in his day and of course it disappeared.
Why should we expect it? Patsy Cline has disappeared, too. So what do we say to the public who buys her album? One out of every nine households in the United States has a Patsy Cline album. What do we say to that public?
Would it not be nice that we had some visual record of what she actually performed like? Well, unfortunately we do not. The same in Washington, D.C. TV as for Walter Cronkite and others.
On an absolutely personal note, I interviewed Bob Dalton who has been on Washington TV for 30 years recently and Bob Dalton has the sum of his lifetime work, 30 years on American television, daily journalism in nine videotapes sitting on his couch. Nine.
I said, Bob, is this it? He said, yes, this is it. Eight were from the 1990's. One videotape from 1952 to 1990. That is unconscionable.
So first big point by the tenured professor is do not think small. Please do not think small. Do not give the values of our generation to our children and our grandchildren and their great grandchildren. Please do not do that.
I know money is tight. I know things are hard. I know it is difficult. Life is difficult, but I think if we narrow it now, they will never have it. We lose, if you want a fancy term what the economists call option value.
If we destroyed Yellowstone Park in 1916, we would not have the option of having it generation after generation and that brings me to my second point. Money.
I am a trained economist. So I try to think about this. I proposed several years ago a one-percent tax on all movies. Movie tickets, movie rentals, et cetera. Five hundred million dollars a year.
Yes. That would go a long way in solving the problem, but I got poo-pooed. The press ran things about it. This is the dumbest idea we have ever heard. Obviously this guy is a professor. How did he ever get tenure, et cetera.
Well, I recently heard an example and I thank the news for bringing it up. The Everglades. The Everglades are a great natural resource that we have in this country. A park that is being destroyed and the nature groups that are destroying it and my apologies to them, are the sugar producers.
They want good land. This is terrific virgin territory, near water, et cetera. So the sugar producers have been, if you go in south Florida, encroaching from Lake Okeechobee down further and further.
Well, a deal has been struck. The Everglades need money to be saved. So we now have a one cent a pound tax on sugar. Now of course you can hear the screaming and yelling by the sugar industry.
This is going to kill us. We have no profits. It is the end of sugar as we know it. All I ask is a test case. Has anyone in this room noticed a difference in the price of sugar? Have you bought less sugar for your coffee? Have you bought less pies? Have you noticed an escalation?
No, of course not. One cent on a pound has not changed anyone's behavior, but hopefully it will provide the financial basis for preserving the Everglades. Those who use it, the sugar producers and us the consumers, should help keep it as a public good. I think the exact analogy goes here.
If we want to pass this to our grandchildren and great grandchildren as a public service, as a public good, a cultural product, then we all ought to be willing to contribute.
I do not measure video in pounds, but if you want to use feet, if you want to use one percent, a half a percent, I think you come up with a similar model, a model of preserving that material as a public good for all of us now and in the future.
I would encourage that we think big on those lines so that we can have not only the amount of funding necessary, but the steady state of funding that is necessary, not just hit and miss, but steady.
Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Mr. Cripps, good to see you again as well. STATEMENT OF THOMAS CRIPPS, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
MR. CRIPPS: Thank you. For our next tenured fuddy duddy professor, I think I will take my allotted time or less. I am not sure.
I have a long paragraph I am skipping, in which I explain to us all why we are here and why I am personally here. I will skip both of those.
I should like to be thought of as a delegate from another world, that is of the small college struggling to be a university in a world of giants.
The Morgan State Universities in the world number in the thousands. They graduate most of the students of higher education in the United States, particularly in the case of Morgan and HBU, as we say on the campus, historically black university.
This statistic has meaning. HB's have graduated a far higher proportion of America's black leaders than have the traditionally white universities and yet we struggle in a way that larger, research oriented universities do not.
Our libraries, when compared with major libraries, grow at an inch worm rate. Especially this is so with respect to costly electronic images, whether radio, television, motion pictures, laser discs, CD rom materials.
Not only are these materials prohibitively costly, but their storage, maintenance and accessibility render the need for their acquisition almost moot.
Ranging from buying machinery, monitors, players, VCR's and such, to buying licenses to take new materials off satellite place small libraries in a perpetual survival mode.
Thus our collections remain small and relatively speaking grow smaller and so our distance from the mainstreams of American intellectual life remains the subject of a constant struggle.
Almost no predominantly African-American university can expect to stay even in this uneven struggle. My own university, when I arrived 37 years ago, was blessed by Guggenheim Fellows such as Benjamin Quarles, distinguished journalists such as G. James Fleming and pioneers in bringing black American life into the American studies and internationally regarded literary critics such as Philip Butcher and Nick Ford. Now we have perhaps one or two dinosaurs left.
Partly this is so because the nature of the curriculum has changed in ways that render electronic media obligatory as sources of study and of teaching.
When I was a graduate student in olden times, as my students think of it, a professor once quoted with quiet approval a famous historian who had asserted that history is past politics.
Now politics has been subsumed under rubrics such as cultural studies. This means that to study any trait of 20th century American culture in society has become for some scholars a search for politics. Politics of art, of movies, of television.
This curricular evolution alone has made both teaching and research prohibitively dear. Susan Davis' book, Parades and Power, a recent study of 19th century Philadelphia working class politics combined, even indeed linked popular forms of parading on holidays as manifestations of political campaigning.
Her entire corpus of research might have been accomplished in one or two libraries by turning the pages of old newspapers. To attempt the same task in the age of television is to incur a research debt that would be unavoidably dependent on research and travel grants that would be prohibitive to graduate students and undergraduates alike.
So with a simultaneous arrival of both cultural studies and electronic media, the teacher and the student both at a small American college are effectively debarred from participating in any important trend in American higher education.
The solution to this emerging disparity is access to electronic resources and of course self evidently the preservation of these videotape documents.
Others will argue far more effectively than I for such a hoped for outcome of these hearings. My most deeply felt need is for access to the preserved document.
At the very least, the ongoing work of the Library of Congress, Division of Broadcasting, Motion Pictures and Recorded Sounds must be encouraged and expanded, perhaps in the form of regional core collections of their documents.
In addition, in keeping with the laws expressed wish to enhance education while ensuring against copyright infringement, we must ask for a re-clarification of the copyright law of 1976, coincidentally written in the same year as the television preservation law.
If we clarify copyright law in a way that it does not infringe upon the rights of copyright holders, it should allow for educational use as fair use. Perhaps by having institutions pay a general user fee, not unlike that paid to ASCAP for the right to use musical compositions.
In this way researchers, even undergraduate researchers, would be able to receive on request of the Library of Congress or other repository, either by satellite or by postal service research and teaching copies of historic video documents.
Perhaps copyright holders could have a small logo supered in the corner of the frame of such programming as an insurance against an unintended pirated use for broadcast purposes.
Many firms in the business of selling stock shots already do this. Or a more commonplace solution might be the often discussed prospect of regional media study centers. There are already such precedents for this in the Pacific Film Archive, the late lamented Southwestern Film and Video Archive, the Harvard and Yale Archives, along with many smaller archives that have taken in the news footage of their local television stations, such as the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
To take any one of these steps, accompanied by a rigorous national effort to preserve the nation's television heritage, much has already been undertaken.
It will allow the nation's small institutions to share in an academic culture now accessible only to those universities rich enough to collect their own archives. Those near to the major repositories, such as the Library of Congress and those who now scrape by even as they are partly daunted by the FBI's warnings at the top of every Blockbuster tape that they use fragment of in class.
My students frequently play a verbal dramatized joke in class, each one thinking he or she has invented it, bursting in the door, pretending to be the FBI and having us put our hands against the wall.
Many witnesses before this body will surely emphasize the documented need for preservation and broad access without violating copyright, but I would press further a more precious need that practicing scholars cannot do without.
The development of the provenance and the pedigrees of the video image. To rely on collectors, commercial stores such as Blockbuster or even their more historically minded counterparts, such as Video Americain, is to study documents that have frequently been violated, edited, fragmented and otherwise spoiled as pristine primary sources.
To have a national repository such as the Library of Congress with a staff trained in librarianship would assure not only the stanching of the bleeding away of lost materials, but would assure that the survivors would be catalogued according to a professional standard of description.
Here I should point out that by the television document I mean precisely what is meant by almost everyone else who might wish to speak to this issue. All of the programming, not merely news, documentaries or so-called educational television.
It is all educational, whether the seven-year hit situation comedy, a flop that has dropped after six shows or the hundreds of commercials that routinely punctuate the programming.
It is the total television experience that will teach our offspring what our culture was really like. Imagine if we were to judge the culture of Britain only by what comes to us through the prism of Masterpiece Theatre. We would miss entirely the Irish, the working class, the blacks and so on.
To fail to see this preservation attempt in the round is to become dependent on compilers of the holdings of copyright possessors.
However much we were amused by MGM's That's Entertainment, however we wince at the NFL's compilations of the league's hardest hits, complete with augmented whacks of sound effects, we are unable to learn much from them.
Yet we are dependent on what sells, whether in the rental stores or among the chains of dealers, such as Sun Coast.
May I have one last word on the aspect of our work here that may elude those of us who have not recently faced its structures? I wrote this before I heard David talking about copyright.
That is the subject of copyright. We indeed need some uniform code or standard that will allow scholarly use without the threat of litigation for presume violation or infringement.
The law as it stands or rather the jurisprudence that has followed from it has made eligible for copyright almost any document, even a laundry list.
That is to say, any scribbling on a page constitutes intent to publish. Therefore any manuscript or in our instance today, any out take, constitutes a copyrighted document protected by the law.
Moreover, this particular title in the law awards uncommonly ironclad protection to all of the future widows and orphans of America whose forbears may have produced something deemed as meant to be published.
We need to remove all non-commercial, scholarly research or teaching purpose or intent from this morass of ever lengthier claims to ownership.
We should make clear the intent neither to infringe the rights of others nor the wish to profit from the work of others, but the public's right to know as phrased in the original copyright act of 1790 is also a right and one that we must defend against infringement. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Mr. Curtin, the director of cultural studies programs at Indiana University. STATEMENT OF MICHAEL CURTIN, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, DIRECTOR, CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAM
MR. CURTIN: Good day. Thank you for the invitation to present here. I have submitted some written comments and rather than reading from those comments, I just want to touch on some things that have already been said by some of the scholars here and by the first round of presentations, amplifying upon them a little bit and then perhaps offer a modest suggestion, which is probably just as naive as some of the other suggestions that scholars will make today.
First of all, as far as budgets are concerned, whether we are talking about small colleges or "research institutions" we are talking about very small research budgets.
Mr. Cripps very eloquently pointed out the problems that scholars confront at small institutions. At Indiana University, what is known as a world class research institution or at least likes to pretend that it is a world class research institution, scholars in the humanities have no research budgets.
You can compete for research budgets. You can try and negotiate for research budgets and a very handsome annual research budget might total $1,000, $2,000. So we are talking about very small amounts of money.
Most of the money that people spend on their research comes out of their pockets. A lot of this we have sort of referred to jokingly, but perhaps dark humor is what one is confronted with in these kinds of circumstances, but we refer to it as credit card research. We extend our credit limits on our credit cards in order to be able to go places to gather the information and materials that are important to us. So as far as research budgets are concerned, all up and down the scale we are talking about very limited amounts of money that are available.
The second thing is that Mr. Culbert pointed out that there is a reticence on the part of some historians to actually engage in the analysis of television programs themselves, given the obstacles that they confront. It is very true that for years television studies pretty much focused on institutional, regulatory, and economic issues, largely I think because people did not have VCR's in their homes where they could pop tapes in, record programs, and then go back and look at them very carefully.
A lot of the research that was being done was being done about television as an institutional force and it is only more recently that we have started to see an increasing interest in the program texts themselves.
This interest in programs is appearing not just in history but in cultural studies, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to appear today. Cultural studies is perhaps one of the fastest growing areas in humanities research today.
What is cultural studies? Well, it is very much about the connection between text and context. How is it that the meanings that we circulate in society are connected to social and power relations in society? It is not just media scholars who are interested in this. It is people in English departments, political science departments, folklore departments, comparative literature departments, all across the university. My program includes 60 faculty members from 19 departments and programs in the university who study everything from cartoons to Ouigi boards to television, and television is of increasing interest, because for 40 years more than 80% of the American people have had TV's in their homes. It is something that we share across generations. We share it across economic, social, ethnic, racial, other sorts of divides. How we share it, how we use it is of course distinctive to each viewing context itself, but nevertheless it is the preeminent form of mass communication.
Yet what we have here, what we are confronted with, is a blanking out; a sort of sealing off of a lot of discussion about this realm and about the texts themselves, largely because of the issues that we confront in the area of copyright.
You have heard a lot of discussion about this today; I too consider copyright to be perhaps the paramount issue in resolving a lot of the problems we confront. Certainly funding, storage, access, those sorts of things are very important, but the real irony here is that these programs which are so hard to access were broadcast over the public airwaves.
Mr. Gomery is very right, we have to be sympathetic with these private corporations being profit ventures. Indeed they are profit ventures and that has made only too apparent by Mr. Stevens' comment that one is known as the vice-president of asset management; they see themselves as profit ventures primarily. So their priorities are very, very different, but the irony here is that as a result their priorities fly in the face of the fact that here we have a public medium of which we have no record.
In newspapers we have a record. The next day you can go to the library and you can look at what was in yesterday's newspaper and study it very carefully. You could do that of course for decades. You can get it on microfilm. It can be circulated to institutions all over the country.
With television, you cannot do that. You do not have access to those records and if you do not have your tape machine, your personal tape machine running, chances are you may be missing something, like the O. J. Simpson flight and trial.
Now granted, however you take that issue, it was a major media event, which compelled national attention. What happened with the Simpson flight and trial is probably a condensation of just about a half dozen very significant issues that confront us. Everything from domestic relations to race relations to the future of Los Angeles to police enforcement, et cetera, et cetera. A very important event and yet we have no way of legitimately accessing that without going through these corporate institutions with their own sets of priorities, unless we want to fly in the face of copyright and make our own recording, circulate them among ourselves, do this in a very sort of casual and subrossa manner, which is how a lot of television research gets conducted.
So what goes over the public airwaves is not available for critique. It is not available for criticism largely because of.
Mr. Gomery suggested a 1% tax as one proposal that we might consider. I would also say that what we should consider as well is pressing for an exemption to copyright laws for the Library of Congress: that the Library of Congress be allowed to record off-air at its own discretion, that it be able to seek from commercial distributors materials that are not otherwise commercially available at a reasonable cost and that by gaining this exemption that they start to undertake a very active program of systematically trying to record what is happening now on television and also gathering those things that are difficult to obtain through commercial sources.
That exemption is not unreasonable. It is not unreasonable first of all because we are talking about the public airwaves, but it is also not an unreasonable thing because when my book was published last year, I know that a copy went to the Library of Congress. When books are published, they end up in the Library of Congress, right? Well maybe not in all cases, but certainly in most cases we know where to look.
With television, we have the most ubiquitous form of mass communication in the United States and we do not have a record. We do not have a way to move forward systematically in gathering that record. Why? Because we depend on the contributions and generosity of television executives, of producers. We depend on the occasional collection that gets donated.
I do not know all of the ways in which collections are gathered and organized, because that is not my bailiwick, but I do know that I just recently published a book on the emergence of television news in the early 1960's as the preeminent form of news in the United States especially the documentary genre itself.
I was able to go around the country and I was able to gather most of the documentaries that I was looking for. Why? Because nobody considered them to be commercially valuable anymore, one.
Secondly, they were considered to be public service kinds of programming so they got distributed to libraries. They got distributed to archival collections. It was part of a network public service gesture, the whole documentary boom of the early 1960's.
Therefore, I could go around the country and gather up these things and nobody thought they were worth anything. In fact, I was just ahead of the garbage man in many cases, because what was happening was that people were discarding from collections many of these documentaries that I was in fact studying.
So in that case, I was lucky. If I had not been able to access those documentaries, I would argue that I would have written a very, very different book than the book that I wrote, because one of the things that scholars pay attention to increasingly is the fact that all forms of media, are contradictory.
Embedded within them is not one single message, but a constellation of often conflicting, contradictory meanings and what I often found in these documentaries were things that were far different from what I had expected.
The questions I ended up asking as part of my research project were far different than the questions I started out with when I started my project looking through government documents, looking through trade publications, looking through contemporary press accounts, et cetera.
So this public record is extremely important. What we know and what we will think of our immediate past and our distant past is highly reliant on the fact that we start making a systematic effort to save much of what is there.
I just want to close with one final comment and that is going back to what Mr. Gomery was saying about priorities. Inscribed in whatever systematic effort we make will be a certain set of values. A certain set of assumptions about what we think is valuable.
Let me just point out that I have a student right now who is working on a dissertation about cooking shows. It is a fascinating dissertation: What we think about food. How we present food. The sorts of discussion and deliberation that goes on around food. The ways in which cooking is both a public and a private activity. The ways in which television bridges the public and the private. The way that it gathers viewers around the issue of what kinds of foods are to be valued, how they are prepared, et cetera, et cetera.
Who would have thought of cooking as being a fascinating dissertation? Yet, this student, who is working on her dissertation in this area, is now producing I think something that is going to be very valuable to people in the future when they look back and they think about how was food inscribed in social practices during the 1980's and 1990's?
So I very much urge you to consider the sorts of things that the panelists suggest here. Certainly we do not know all of the particularities of how these acquisitions will take place, how they will be funded, et cetera, et cetera, but we can tell you that it is extremely important what this panel is doing.
We are very grateful for these efforts and we think that this action needs to move beyond just the question of the technical issues, the funding issues. It needs to also move into the realm of dealing with these very confusing copyright concerns. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Now we welcome Thomas Doherty who is chairman of the film studies program at Brandeis. STATEMENT OF THOMAS DOHERTY, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, CHAIR, FILM STUDIES PROGRAM
MR. DOHERTY: Thank you. I am pleased to testify to the importance of television and video preservation and to programs that assure scholars, students and the general public ready access to television archives.
But because I am from Brandeis University I come here not only to testify, but to kvetch a little about that subject. Like my colleagues, I believe that the television legacy no less than printed material or the motion picture record offers the unique lens into American life in the second half of the 20th century.
Matthew Arnold to the contrary, culture is no longer only the best that is written in thought. It is also what we see and create on screen.
No one outside the provinces of an Amish community can doubt the centrality of television to American life. Reviled or beloved, vast wasteland or cultural cornucopia, TV shapes our imagination and colors our existence.
The values we esteem, the myths that we live by, even the leaders we elect are transmitted and mediated by television.
Since 1948 or thereabouts successive generations of Americans have measured their lives by shared moments beheld on the screen. Just as we experience that shared present through television, we learn our history through it for history is now as likely to be acquired as a visual memory, as a printed one, as a retrieval of images rewound from our collective visual consciousness.
We can all do the channel surfing in our heads. Frank Costello's hands nervously fidgeting during the Kefauver crime hearings, attorney Joseph Welch facing down the junior senator from Wisconsin, a perspiring Charles Van Doren feigning concentration, four indelible days in November, 1963, a blizzard of combat imagery from southeast Asia, the president's men called to account before the halls of Congress and on and on to the Challenger disaster, the Hill-Thomas hearings, the war in the gulf and too long ago, the murder verdict of the century.
In focusing just now on matters of obvious historical significance however, I did not mean to slight the rest of the medium's content.
Momentous events aside, our encounter with television is more likely to be the daily rituals of situation comedies, talk shows, crime dramas or sports. Yet sometimes the obscure and the ephemeral persist with surprising tenacity and what seems the disposable dextrose of one era might be a nugget of gold to another.
Viewed from a distance, revelations abound in the common rung of television programming. The racial and ethnic shadings of 1950's America in Amos and Andy and Molly. The gender dynamics in any one of a dozen ripe sitcoms from Ozzie and Harriet to Roseanne and the nation insecurities expressed in crime melodramas such as Dragnet or NYPD Blue.
In honesty, one might be forced to concede the daunting possibility that the Jerry Springer show might reveal as much about the 1990's as 60 Minutes.
In short, though some discrimination is nigh unavoidable, given the vast quantity of material in the TV culture bank an open ended selection process might best capture the wide net and permissive arena that is television, an admissions policy that accepts all genres and embraces the low with the high.
After all, we have learned those terms have a way of turning on their heads with time. As anyone knows who has partaken of the genius, is there a better word for it, of Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason or Ernie Kovacs.
If the defense of television as an art and the arguments for its impact as a social influence are familiar enough, it's role in the classroom as a historical document might be less known.
In this sense I thought it might be useful to discuss one example of how as a teacher of American history and culture TV comes into play. Being a cultural historian, I teach courses in the full range of Americanist material, from the sermons of John Winthrop on through to the glories of classical Hollywood cinema.
A couple of years ago I took over a course entitled "Television in American Culture," given out of the American studies department at Brandeis.
From the billing at least it might seem to be the kind of offering designed to give lazy undergraduates a gut and conservative critics of the academy the conniptions.
But in tracing a half century of American life, via television I and most of my students I really believe found the material rich, complex and demanding: the death of presidents, the immediacy of war, the constitution in action.
The chronology alone tracks a whole range of cultural transformations, many impossible to imagine without the influence, salutary and baleful, of television.
Would the civil rights movement have finally penetrated the American conscience without television? Would crime and illegitimacy have exploded without the commercial drumbeat of instant gratification? Surely these are subjects and questions to be pondered in an undergraduate education.
Yet in mastering the history of television and of obtaining material for the class, I found myself stymied again and again. Unlike virtually any other subject one can teach in which ready access to illustrative material and landmark text is a given, the television coded and propelled history of America is maddeningly intangible and un-chronicled.
Further, television moments are just that. Discreet and irreplaceable pieces of time. If you are teaching say the Army-McCarthy hearings, the assassination of JFK or the Tet offensive, access to the contemporaneous images and I would really like to second what Tom Cripps said, as broadcast at the time not as re-contextualized and reedited in retrospective archival documentaries is simply essential.
To be sure, the VCR has helped enormously as has the proliferation of cable options such as A&E, C-SPAN and the history channel.
Moreover in my experience, the networks and individual television producers have been generous in making their materials available, but let's be real. The networks are businesses whose main clients are their in-house production teams.
Scholars of the medium naturally fall well outside their job description. For a specific example, take an event like the Cuban missile crisis, surely a moment in American history worth reclaiming in undergraduate classrooms.
An essential part of teaching that moment is JFK's address on October 22, 1962 in which he used television to deliver an ultimatum to the Soviets and to inform the American people of the gravity of the crisis.
It is certainly the most bracing presidential address ever given on television. We remember it. Our students do not. Where do you find it unedited in its entirety as it was delivered? How do you get a copy of it to show to your class?
Moreover, what substitution can you make? Again, unlike literature where one can choose from a range of likely books when teaching say the American renaissance or even film where an individual western, musical or filmed war can stand in for the genre TV can accept no substitute.
Could you teach the Cuban missile crisis without having seen JFK's speech and screening it? Maybe, but you cannot teach it as well, as vividly, as powerfully.
Ironically and despite whatever the future holds for VHS, which will likely go to the way of the eight track tape with the onset of the digital video disc, even as videotape has become an ever more cost efficient and user friendly teaching tool, the availability of materials to obtain scholarly expertise and assist pedagogy remains both expensive and elusive.
This is especially true of the landmark broadcast of the early television era, which were preserved haphazardly on kinescope, if at all.
In some cases, the visual record of events from 1946 to 1960 may be more clouded and less retrievable than events before that era, which were preserved on news reel film or after it, recorded on videotape.
There is another consideration that might be calculated into the video mix, one that has special resonance for media historians. Once a fresh insight, it is now a stale cliche to observe that in an image obsessed world the boundaries between reality and the image have converged.
That reality, as Susan Sontag put it, "has come to seem more and more like what we are shown on cameras". Yet even for Sontag, a critic with a preternatural sense for the next fashion curve, the photographical reproduction of reality possessed an unbreakable link to the original.
"The picture distorts", Sontag wrote in 1977, "but there is always the presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like what's in the picture."
That presumption no longer holds. Today the technology of photo fabrication in videotape and cinema, no less than the still picture, has out paced the ability of the spectator to detect it.
The telltale indicators of tampering by which a discerning eye could always perceive alterations in the photographic image. The difference in film grain, the visible lines in air brushing, the mismatch of lighting and background have been wiped clean by imaging technologies.
Through the magic of seamless matching, morphing, computer graphics and digital editing techniques, the integrity and voracity of any moving image, perhaps the whole notion of documentary cinema has been called into question.
In sum, if the historian's job of work is to evoke and interpret the past, then television must be part of the material at hand.
The psychologist Karl Jung remarked that "myth is the history you don't have to be taught in school." Can anyone doubt that our modern myth makers are on and around television?
That television is like the atmosphere, sometimes invigorating, sometimes oppressive, but always there. In a famous warning, Edward R. Murrow once ruminated on the potential of television, that it was an appliance that might teach and illuminate but otherwise it was merely lights and shadows in a box.
I think we know it is always much more, but whatever it is, it must be before our eyes to study, to interpret, to delight in.
As the preeminent custodian of our national heritage, the Library of Congress should commit itself aggressively to the task of preserving these vivid and irreplaceable documents. Thank you.
MR. TABB: All right. Thank you. David?
MR. FRANCIS: I hope you do not consider the question I am going to address to all of you as unfair. Let's look at the suggestion Doug Gomery raised about keeping everything effectively.
Say the Library of Congress or other organizations were in a position to record programs off-air and to protect copyright by putting time code invision. This would also enable us to retain information about the date of transmission. Would the academic community be prepared to make a contribution towards the cost of the operation?
It is not actually that expensive to record the major networks off-air. If you divide that cost between all the academic organizations which have an interest in this material, I do not think it would be a significant amount. You then have to find a way of getting that information to the user and that would involve some form of electronic transmission.
I think it is a feasible proposition. What do you feel about it? Let us take a figure out of the blue and say it would cost each institution $50,000 a year for access to this collection. That would cover the cost of the recording. There might also be a small charge for each access.
Do you think this is a feasible approach? It might be possible that we could find a way ensuring adequate protection to record all programs off-air.
This proposal has the advantage of not only recording the programs, but the links as well, enabling one to see the juxtaposition of programs on one channel and another.
MR. CRIPPS: This is already done in the form of off satellite licenses. So people who make up budgets are already used to that line in the budgets. I think it would be only a matter of as the technology advances refining the language of the contracts.
I think you are right about the small item that that budget buying would be for each institution. I think that is not only perfectly reasonable anticipation of the future, but actually a description of what already goes on.
MR. CURTIN: There is already a significant and growing amount of library budgets allocated for the acquisition of video materials and actually one of the advantages here of pursuing such a thing is that a lot of the materials that are being gathered are being gathered on the basis of purchasing tapes, tapes which a lot of times for a half hour, hour tape sometimes cost $200 for a single tape. Other tapes which are much less expensive are starting to become available as well.
But some sort of a sharing arrangement, one of the advantages here is the fact that libraries might then have access to a larger pool actually than what they have now using a similar amount of money in their budgets or perhaps even a smaller amount of money from their budgets.
Given the fact that for example there are tapes that I have ordered by the library that I might use once or twice a year and yet we have to purchase the tape in order for me to be able to use them in the classroom or use them for research.
So I think yes indeed this is a wonderful idea and I think it would be received quite well by many librarians on the one hand.
On the other hand, these libraries are facing very, very severe sorts of funding constraints themselves. So, it has to be a way of sort of reallocating resources primarily within already existing budgets as opposed to coming up with new money, because in many cases new money just does not exist, as you well know.
MR. TABB: Anyone else want to respond to David's question?
MR. CULBERT: The only thing I would add is certainly a problem in my university--very, very modest or antiquated equipment for classroom use. I could see the idea of a contribution for a licensing fee, something that in fact would make sense in the university, but then how to get it into the classroom. Having students come to a designated room in the library in a university with 27,000 people would immediately create a scheduling problem. Fortunately the vast majority of professors could not care less about this and would never come.
It is not an insurmountable barrier, but it is worth keeping in mind that it is not just in the eloquence of Tom Cripps' description of HBU's. There are lots and lots of places out there where material in the classroom can be a bit of a challenge because of the simple brake of inadequate equipment with brake in both senses (break!) of the word.
MR. BURKE: With the importance of television as presented here eloquently this morning and other media, is there a rationale for some universities closing down their radio, television and film departments?
MR. GOMERY: I guess that is aimed at me, but it was presented to us as a fate complie and so I do not think it was a good rationale at all nor a good idea. When the votes were taken, we were not in the room.
MR. BURKE: Is it a trend?
MR. GOMERY: Yes. Sadly it is a trend. The University of Virginia. The University of Maryland. The University of Oregon. Arizona State. Ohio State. I could keep the list a long way down.
As an economist, when the economy went into recession in 1990, 1991, 1992, particularly this is really pretty much for state universities, started to look for ways to cut.
One of the things my colleagues have alluded to is the changing of the nature of the academy, which is as you all know having been there very, very slow and so the study that media was often in a humanities program or something else.
When you look at a humanities program, the history department, my apologies to most history departments, use chalk and maybe a few slides and et cetera. Then you get down to the radio and TV film budget, well it was a pretty easy decision to be made.
But that had nothing to do with the study by the media. It had to do with the inability to get rid of large dollar expenditures quickly.
MR. CULBERT: I think part of that too has to do with another sort of uncertainty. The name radio, TV, film would seem to many to be sort of an antiquated title. Do you want to call it mass communications and what do you want to do with it?
The problem at my university has been an uncertainty as to the cost of buying the constantly evolving technology and the fact that persons who used to go into a radio, TV, film department, now updated with at least a new title--if no new equipment--now attend a School of Mass Communication.
If these are persons who are seeking employment in an industry, then unless you have extremely up-to-date equipment you are, shall we say, instructing them in something new, it is called a typewriter--and then sending them out to try and find practical employment.
The issue is whether the primary purpose of a radio, TV, film department is to produce practitioners or to promote the kinds of interest that I think every panelist here is concerned about--trying to integrate the study of television into a much, much wider range of inquiry.
I think in a sense your question, which I see as being animated by just a whiff of malice, actually is a very interesting one if a non-malicious but more thoughtful or reflective response is encouraged.
To measure the impact of the study of television or video in the academic world based on closings or openings or budgets of radio, TV, film departments would be an exceedingly inaccurate mechanism, like using the telephone to find out who was going to win the presidential election of 1936.
It is hard to get the needed data. Please remember that an association of professors of journalism or mass communication is not the way to find out something which nobody knows and that is what use is being made of television in the classroom.
I use those same materials Tom Doherty spoke of in the course that I teach in America since 1945. I am also interested in complete video texts.
I cannot imagine missing an opportunity to show the entire Nixon Checkers speech, which I always tell my students is an opportunity to see one of the very few examples of the dinosaur age of television production.
I have mass communications majors in that course who indeed are shocked to see what was state-of-the-art broadcasting in 1952.
To me not only is the content memorable, but it is the video technique and the problem of how a camera managed to move from Dick Nixon with the greatest of effort--it seems to take a minute to get all the way over to Pat--while also revealing what was conceived of as a reasonable studio set in 1952.
This is part of the contextualization of a landmark in American political television. But that is only part of it and the fact that it is a standard item that might be used in a course on America since 1945 is never going to be discovered by asking about budgets for radio, TV, film departments.
MR. BURKE: There is no malice of forethought. I just wanted to get the issue on the table.
MR. CULBERT: No. It is a very good question though.
MR. DOHERTY: The film studies program there is a new creation in the last couple of years, because it finally became intolerable, even to the liberal arts sort of print oriented, talmudic history of Brandeis that you would have a major university that did not have a study of the moving image.
It was almost easy in terms of persuading faculty from other departments that this was overdue when you could point out that the 20th centuries, the history of the moving image and film both predates and has outlived the Soviet Union.
That why would you ever want to teach a class on the second world war without the films of Leni Riefenstahl or Frank Capra. I do not see how anybody could do that would want to do that.
From a purely like liberal artsy humanistic basis, even neglecting the kind of professional departments or mass comm with more quantitative departments that are popular around the country.
MR. TABB: Barbara?
MS. RINGER: Just a couple of observations. It must be obvious to all that we are talking about two things here. One is preservation--and that is a major, major problem--but the other is access, and the name of that game is copyright.
I am glad to see that people recognize that. If you've ever made any effort to try to use these materials in the way you have all described, you know that copyright is crucial. I have a lot of experience with that problem.
I agree that copyright is a major stumbling block to what you want to do and what you should be wanting to do.
Doug Gomery says think big. I agree that is important, but I think you also have to start small. Brainstorm all you want--1% taxes, tax credits, or whatever. Thinking about that sort of thing is fine, but it is not going to happen folks. It really is not.
I do not see many people here from the proprietary end of things. Is there anybody here from the copyright owners exclusively? No. Also, how many lawyers are there in the room? One.
In 1955 when the copyright revision program started, we were dealing with a law enacted in 1909--one which was totally out of date in 1955. It took another 21 years to get the revised law to the point of being passed.
What Congress passed in 1976 was a pretty good 1950 law. At least it took us up to that point. The guy who was mainly responsible for the revision in the House, Bob Kastenmeyer--he has an office in this building now--knew and has said so recently that it was an outdated law when Congress passed it but it was all we could get, and it got us over a tremendous hump. We no longer have to deal with the 1909 law and its antiquated provisions.
Now, twenty years later, you need a new statute. You need a new statute desperately, one that can accomplish both purposes of preservation and access. But you cannot do it by bad-mouthing people. I have been through this sort of thing too many times not to feel fairly strongly on this point.
Do not talk about wolves and rapacious this and that. Do not do it, because it just gets the copyright owners upset and you have conflict rather than discussion. It is very easy to defeat legislation: very, very easy.
The proprietary groups, you must understand, have lived through this. They lived through the photocopying problem and did not do anything about it and lost. Once the technological wave had crested, there was nothing they could do.
Then again they waited too late on the issue of home- taping. They are determined not to let that happen again. I have heard this time and time again. That is what you are running into.
It is ridiculous for them to spend hundreds of dollars to collect a dime or two. The transactional costs and the bureaucratic staffing they need are staggering, but they have instructions. Their lawyers tell them what to do and they have to abide by it.
What you need is legislation, but you are not going to get it by talking to yourselves. You really ought to stop that.
Instead, you ought to undertake a new legislative program. The Library of Congress can spearhead it if it is willing. It is not easy. Somebody from the Copyright Office ought to be involved, and there are other forces at play.
The Patent Office, believe it or not, is very interested in all this, too. They are very much on the proprietor's side. The Library of Congress is a library and the Copyright Office has traditionally played a neutral role in all of this. I think they would provide a good focal point for the kind of activities that I can envision here.
I am not going to be personally involved. I have had it with all of this. But I can see what needs to be done, and you need Congressmen that will support you. You need to go out there and get some Congressmen interested in the problem.
Wait until after the election and see what happens. But you need support from people who believe in what you want to do--who are willing to listen to both sides and to sponsor programs and eventually legislation. You need to sit down in rooms like this and talk about actual statutory provisions.
As David knows, we recently had a bill cooking that would have been devastating to the Library of Congress. It would have done away with mandatory registration of copyright material. We tried to work out some kind of compromise, which I don't think was a bad one.
As part of that compromise, we considered amending the law in a way that would have allowed the Library to do massive off-air taping. I do think that is one rather modest way to start.
I think that money could be found if there were clear- cut statutory provisions governing what the Library would do and the constraints that would have to put on their activities.
One reason that we were able to get some of the provisions we got in 1976 was that the proprietary interests trusted the Library. I think that kind of trust is very important to preserve.
In this room two or three years ago, they had a big conference about the Internet and its impact on copyright proprietors and what the Library and the library communities might do.
I made some suggestions along the way concerning collective administration of rights and permissions. It does seem to me that technology has broken the nexus between copyright owner and the user. Instead, you need a system involving some kind of pool out of which the copyright owner is compensated, but where the owner cannot say no and cannot impose impossible conditions.
On that occasion I got scorched by the proprietors, but I do think that is the only way to go. There are already organizations like ASCAP that provide private payment mechanisms and keep the government's clammy hands off of the system.
It does seem to me that, at least in certain areas, the future of copyright lies in collective administration of rights. Maybe not with respect to belles lettres and that sort of thing, but in music you already have ample precedents. Compulsory licensing started with copyright, partly because of the greedy actions of the monopoly holders back in the early parts of this century. We have a lot of very rich history here that we can draw on and I do not think we should try to reinvent the wheel.
There is something else I will mention in passing and that is something you may not have heard of. CORDS. It is written up in the current issue of the Library bulletin. What do they call it now? It is the thing that the Library sends out every two weeks, or whatever it is now. I see somebody grinning back there.
MR. TABB: The editor of it.
MS. RINGER: The editor. Sorry about that, Jill. CORDS is a product of a lot of planning, but the basic planning was done by the guy that invented the Internet and E-mail, Bob Kahn. I really have not followed too clearly what has happened recently, but I think CORDS offers an awful lot of promise.
It involves electronic registration of copyright claims. As part of the registration system, the owner gives all the terms and information a user would need, so that anybody plugging into the Internet and pushing some buttons would be able to find out what they have to pay, what they need to do, and so forth.
This is in the very, very nascent stages, and yet I think that this is what is going to happen sooner or later. No paper changes hands at all. You register the copyright completely electronically and the information goes online and you can find out what you need to do in order to use the material.
It does seem to me that this ought to be brought into these discussions and made very much a part of what ultimately comes out of this. I think this has a lot more to offer than just talking to yourselves. That does not really do any good.
Seriously, if you can, you should bring yourselves to recognize that the proprietary interests are terrified over what is happening. The Internet potentially allows anybody to do anything with their property.
I think that they are probably sufficiently tractable now--maybe you have already observed this--that they could be brought into discussions that would produce good results that would be in the public interest and in their interest.
They will not give up their rights, which they are clinging to with every tendon in their bodies. The ATRA legislation was part of a deal that was based on preserving their rights.
In the legislative process, you give and you take. But do not bad mouth your opponents, please. It is not productive. It makes people mad and they will not listen to you. If you can get into a room and talk about concrete proposals you are much better off.
I have said all I am going to say.
MR. TABB: We have to call time now and we will adjourn for a break. We will take only ten minutes. So be back at 11:20.
[Whereupon, a short recess was taken.]
MR. MURPHY: Let me convey apologies for Winston Tabb, who has to leave us at this time. I am Bill Murphy and I will be taking over the duty of moderator and I indeed will wield a heavy gavel to try to get us back on time. We are running considerably over schedule.
Let us begin now with the next panel of archives and museums and we are starting with Maxine Fleckner Ducey, the current president of the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Maxine. STATEMENT OF MAXINE FLECKNER DUCEY, ASSOCIATION OF MOVING IMAGE ARCHIVISTS (AMIA), PRESIDENT
MS. DUCEY: In 1993 with the work underway on a national plan for film preservation, AMIA, the Association of Moving Image Archivists, joined many others in the moving image archive community, including the Library of Congress in calling for a parallel plan for television and video.
Now the Library has stepped forward to answer that call. Messrs. Billington, Tabb, Francis and Murphy and all the others at the Library of Congress deserve our thanks and our full cooperation as they take on this daunting but much needed project.
AMIA has prepared a written statement from which my remarks today are excerpted because there is no way that they would fit into the ten-minute limit, to provide information about the Association and its growing role within the moving image archive community and to identify the key concerns which we believe a national plan for television and video preservation must address.
The Association of Moving Image Archivists is a professional association established in order to advance the field of moving image archiving by fostering cooperation among individuals concerned with the collection, preservation, exhibition and use of moving image materials.
Since the late 1960's, representatives of moving image archives have met regularly to exchange information and share experiences.
Over the years these meetings grew from a handful of participants to several hundred archivists representing over 100 national, regional and local institutions.
Currently AMIA consists of nearly 300 moving image archivists. Our members collect, preserve and provide access to a broad cross section of film, television and video media.
Classical and contemporary Hollywood productions, news reels and documentaries, national, regional and local television productions, including news, public affairs and entertainment programming, film and video art, amateur footage and film and video reflecting ethnic and minority experiences.
AMIA's three standing committees, preservation, cataloguing and documentation and access all deal actively with film, television and video issues.
In addition to special AMIA interest groups focus on television news and documentary collections and on film and video amateur footage.
AMIA is eager to work closely with the Library to develop and implement an effective national plan which looks to the interests of all concerned, archives and archivists, educators and scholars, producers and rights holders and the public.
Drawing from the experience and expertise of our members, AMIA has identified several points crucial to formulating a plan which will significantly improve the state of television and video preservation.
The field of television and video preservation is less clearly defined than that of film preservation. The players are more numerous and varied. The scope of the preservation problem is greater and less amenable to clear cut solutions.
Standards, principles and accepted procedures in television preservation are not as fully developed, while the technological base is more fluid and complex than that of film.
The national plan therefore must begin by addressing some very fundamental issues. It should, first of all, state a clear and convincing case for the importance of preserving television and video materials.
Regrettably the historical, cultural, social and artistic value of television programs and video productions, particularly on a local and regional level, is still widely dismissed.
It should also take into account the diversity of the television and video preservation field. AMIA members alone come from international corporations, government agencies, private businesses, non-profit organizations and various cultural and educational institutions representing every budget and every staffing situation.
It should also expand the definition of television and video preservation to include archival storage, cataloguing and access.
It should determine the scale of the television and video preservation problem, which we all known is enormous and identify problem solving strategies which will take that scale into account.
It should evaluate current television and video preservation efforts. How are materials being preserved? What is being preserved and by whom?
It should also create degree programs for educating new moving image, including television and video archivists and provide continuing education opportunities for those already in the field.
Due to the scope and the complexity of television and video preservation, the concept of a shared national collection, which is so fundamental to the field of film preservation, assumes even greater significance when applied to television and video.
Coordination and shared responsibilities between a wide array of public and private institutions and a formula for securing and allocating additional resources are instrumental to an effective national plan.
Some specific applications of the national collection concept might include coordinated selection guidelines, which can ensure that the broadest representation of television and video materials will be preserved, while minimizing a duplication of effort.
Shared preservation responsibilities among public archives, but also between the public archives and commercial producers and broadcasters. Non-profit and for profit partnerships.
National or regional storage facilities. National or regional laboratory facilities, which will be available for preservation copying and equipped to handle obsolete video formats.
Model donation and deposit agreements, which could be used to foster positive relationships between public archives and owners of television and video materials.
Finally the designation of selected non-profit archives as regional repositories for an expanded Library of Congress copyright collection.
The plan should encourage a stronger sense of shared responsibility, emphasizing cooperation and collaboration among all constituents in the television and video preservation field. AMIA is dedicated to this approach and currently serves as an ideal forum for its practice.
In the area of physical preservation, particularly laboratory transfer and archival storage, the national plan should work to clearly define the principles and components of a television and video preservation program.
Such a definition should establish basic parameters regarding formats suitable for preservation, the similarities and differences between television, video and film preservation.
Approaching television and video preservation as a process rather than as a product and factoring in the diversity of archives and the disparity of their resources.
That is to say, yes, we should work on identifying cutting edge technology, but we should also look for acceptable lower cost alternatives.
The definition of preservations should emphasize the central role of climate controlled storage and the promise of regional storage centers.
It should encourage the research and testing of video and digital products including new tape and disc formats and examine the impact of new digital technologies in preserving television and video materials.
Currently, the AMIA preservation committee is working on two television and video projects. A manual for the care and handling of videotape and a director of archival film and video laboratory services.
In the area of access, especially educational, scholarly and public access, a national plan must emphasize access as an integral component of preservation and must foster communication and cooperation among rights holders, archives and the research and educational community, which will expand public access to archival materials, while at the same time ensuring the legal and economic interests of the rights holders.
It should explore methods for bringing television and video materials to researchers, rather than forcing researchers to travel to the materials.
It should promote agreements among archives, educational institutions and rights holders, which would permit off air taping of a broader range of television programming for teaching and research use. It should promote the simplification of the process of rights clearances.
The existing process, complex at best and in many cases indecipherable, serves neither the interests of educators nor rights holders.
It should emphasize the value of professional cataloguing and where feasible of shared cataloguing and it should examine the impact of digital formats and computer technology on access to television and video materials.
Increased and creative funding for television and video preservation is of course the bottom line of any national plan.
A successful plan should include items such as a campaign to increase public awareness of the need for television and video preservation by sponsoring traveling exhibits and programs, a documentary on television and video preservation, which could be broadcast nationally, a festival of preservation similar to AMC's annual preservation festival for motion pictures.
A plan should propose a mechanism to provide archives with information and support materials to assist with local fund raising. It should encourage federal, state, local and private funding agencies to establish grant programs for television and video preservation.
Promote non-profit and for profit partnerships as a means of sharing preservation related expenses and when appropriate, expand the mandate of the proposed national film preservation foundation to encompass all moving images, including television and video materials.
Many of the issues and ideas that I have just relayed echo those identified by the National Film Preservation Board's plan for film preservation.
This is going to surprise no one since in many ways the fields of motion pictures, television and video converge. At the levels of production, distribution and transmission, teaching and research, archiving and preservation, moving images increasingly constitute one field.
For this reason, AMIA urges the Library of Congress to avoid duplication of effort by combining any parallel and compatible initiatives which may emerge from both national plans.
Finally, AMIA urges that the Library continue to be guided by two essential principles in conducting this project. First of all, a national perspective recognizing the significance of the project for the archival television and video community as a whole.
Secondly, a commitment to collaboration validating the involvement of the archive community in both designing and executing the plan.
To the credit of both the Film Board and the Library, these were the hallmarks of the study and plan for film preservation and AMIA applauds the Library for continuing this approach.
For its part, AMIA promises to work diligently with the Library and other interested parties to achieve the promise of any and all national plans fashioned to ensure the preservation of America's moving image heritage. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: Thanks very much.
Let us now turn to our next speaker, Mr. Cary O'Dell, who is the archives director at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Good morning. STATEMENT OF CARY O'DELL, MUSEUM OF BROADCAST COMMUNICATIONS, ARCHIVES DIRECTOR
MR. O'DELL: Good morning. I am Cary O'Dell with the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Our president and founder, Bruce DuMont, originally scheduled to be here could not make it due to a sudden change in his schedule.
As archives director, I oversee an archive of 10,000 television programs, 8,000 commercials and 50,000 hours of radio commercials.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications is one of only two broadcasting museums in the United States. The second, the Museum of Television and Radio is in New York City, which recently opened a wing of themselves in Los Angeles.
Now you may be asking yourself, as I am frequently asked, what is the difference between that museum and our museum and I would give you my standard answer.
I do not know. I have never been to the Museum of Television and Radio. In fact, I have never been to New York City and until last night, I had never been to Washington, D.C.
But frequently the crux of that question implies that there should be some significant difference between our two museums. That there needs to be competition between our two institutions.
However, no one ever insists that there be only one art museum in the country or one science museum or one history museum. So surely broadcasting, television and radio has proved itself an important and influential enough to justify many museums, archives and symposiums such as this one.
After I tell people this, I often sense a bit of disappointment. They want there to be some competition, some jockeying for position between us and them, but I do not think there is and I do not think there should be.
If there is competition, then I think we need to put it to rest today. Let's take the gloves off, if indeed there are gloves, and form a union, working together more cooperatively and with greater communication.
We are all in the same business in the end and what we all do is for the love of a medium. That is where I want to start my comments today.
I understand that I am kind of preaching to the converted, but I do want to say the following things about this medium.
Despite 50 years as a mass medium, television is still often treated by those who watch it and frequently by those who make it as a distant relative of high art and as a stepchild of other performative arts like theatre and cinema, yet television is our single most important vehicle for entertainment, information and the progression of the American myth.
The awesomeness of its reach and impact never ceases to amaze me and I work around it every single day. All the cliches are true. It has made our world a village. It has changed the way we vote. It has changed the way we see ourselves and view each other.
Through news, documentaries, soap operas, prime time dramas and comedies and, yes, even through daytime talk shows it is still the most important and insightful means for confronting and illuminating controversial problems and social issues.
In addition to that, it is our most awesome culturally reflective tool. I often infuriate my friends and perhaps many people today by making the following announcement.
If I was to come back 100 years from now and wanted to learn about life in these United States, I do not want to see your stock exchange, your statistics or your newspapers. Show me your top ten prime time programs and I will know everything I need to know about the dreams and values of that current society.
So that is my somewhat fanciful way of saying that the greatest obstacle to television and radio preservation is a general public and at times TV industry's own disregard for what it watches and listens to. The "Oh, it's just TV" syndrome.
Museums such as mine exist to place broadcasting in context and therefore hopefully illustrate to the public its importance and vitality.
I hope then that 100 years from now when I come back the programs of today, last night, last week, last year will be around for future generations to not only enjoy but to learn from.
They are important artifacts worthy of saving, as important as covered wagons, as model T's or any other vehicle we have used to get from there to here.
But as all of us sitting here today can tell you, a lot of our legacies have already been lost. Not only from the 1950's and the late 1940's, but all the way up into the 1960's and to present day.
Much of the work of Chicago's own Irv "Kup" Kupcinet, whose legendary talk show is quite well loved, is gone and after a couple of nationwide searches conducted by myself and the estate of David Susskind, we have determined that much of his work from the 1960's also no longer exists.
For a variety of reasons, all these tapes were used up, thrown out or destroyed. We went through them as carelessly and recklessly as we once did fossil fuel.
While things are somewhat better today, many programs today by local stations and even cable stations are still produced one day and discarded if not the next, then soon after.
So often the reason for the discarding is relatively simple. They do not have the space to store yesterday's programs or the time to organize them all and that is where, hopefully, repositories like the Museum of Broadcast Communications and its siblings can come in.
It is our mission not only to welcome the orphaned and to organize the unorganized, but to make these programs available once again for viewing to general audiences.
Letting them use television and its many genres as a resource for research as dependable as the World Book Encyclopedia and as available as the local public library.
Increasingly we are finding that we cannot do this mission alone and we cannot do it without greater support from the industry we are trying to preserve, analyze and celebrate.
While the majority of the national networks and cable stations and local stations have been wonderfully generous in terms of donating tapes of programs they no longer wish to have, they have not been as supportive as for profit institutions assisting us not-for-profits with the next step, with preservations.
That is: the financial backing it takes to see that these programs have a long shelf life, i.e. the transfer from one video format to another, its storage in proper containers, in environmentally controlled spaces.
The MBC's founder and president, Bruce DuMont, has likened the situation to parent and child. If a company or network gives birth to a production, they have the responsibility to see to it that that program endures and enjoys a long and prosperous lifespan.
Now this situation is not only with the television industry. Jane Alexander has publicly criticized the motion picture industry for what she considers to be their disregard for their own product once it has left our neighborhood theaters.
Institutions like ours will not for very much longer be able to accept large quantities of tapes and films (and if we do not accept them, who will) without greater financial support from the industry that created them.
As many institutions, including mine, have learned the hard way, having the biggest backlog of un-catalogued, untransferred film and videotape is no longer a worthwhile or responsible goal.
However, before Ms. Ringer accuses me of attacking the industry, let me say here for the first time publicly that the National Broadcasting Company in New York has recently donated to the Museum monies for the transfer of hundreds of "Tomorrow" shows featuring Tom Snyder.
These landmark interview shows on two inch videotapes of the 1970's and early 1980's contain one-on-one interviews with some of the most important scholars and artists of our century.
These funds will allow us to transfer these programs off the dreaded two inch videotape format, the dinosaur of the videotape industry, and onto a new format with a greater shelf life.
In doing so, they will also for the first time since they were originally aired be available for viewing by the public.
In addition, and I am dealing with another medium here, the Wrigley Company, the Chicago-based gum manufacturer, recently turned over to the Museum its vast collection of radio programs from the 1930's and 1940's and with it the necessary money to transfer these programs off of electronic transcription disk.
All of our problems have not been solved however. One of the MBC's largest holdings, the David Susskind Collection, still sits in storage at the Museum waiting to be transferred, a treasure chest waiting to be opened. So that is my first recommendation. Industry and museums: better relations and financial exchanges between the two.
Secondly, I would like to talk about the United States government. Now as we have all heard from both sides of the political spectrum, the days of big government are over. So I do not look to government, federal or local, to be the solution for the financial side of our preservation problems.
However, I would like to see television preservation given a greater priority as government grants are distributed in the areas of the humanities and for historic preservation.
What good is it giving money for the creation of a new dance or for the creation of a documentary if we are not seeing to it that these things are preserved on videotape.
By publicly making the preservation of the TV moving image a priority, governing bodies can lead by example illustrating to the nation the value of our collective video memories, memories saved and shared.
A case in point, recently the Illinois Arts Council gave the MBC funds was able to make accessible to our patrons over 500 episodes of the program Image Union. Image Union is a locally produced PBS series for video artists and amateur documentarians.
Always on the cutting edge, these programs are the road map to the future of the medium and through the foresight of WTTW, our local PBS station, which saved them long after they were aired and the Illinois Arts Council, which recognized their value, these programs are now preserved and available at the Museum for viewing to our patrons for the first time since they were originally broadcast.
Along with the financial support from industry leaders, public companies, leadership provided by our governments we can also bring into the equation of television and video preservation the private citizen.
I am again switching mediums here, but it is to make a point. Recently Radio Hall of Fame member, radio historian, and MBC vice-president Chuck Schaden launched a grass roots campaign to raise money for the remastering of his vast vintage radio collection.
It has been spectacularly successful. The generosity of the fans of Mr. Schaden and the collection he has devoted his life to has been wonderful to watch and we plan to begin this project before year's end.
In many, many ways the preservation of the medium may eventually rest with the public, with the fans that this medium is about. The Trekkies, the X-Filers, the lovers of Lucy. It is their devotion after all that has made museums like mine possible at all and it is for them that we serve.
So in conclusion it is with greater communication between the archival community, much greater support from the broadcasting and cable industry, government support and leadership and the welcome involvement of the private citizen that we move into the future, indeed that we have a future at all.
Thank you very much.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. O'Dell.
Now Mr. John Lynch, the director of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive of Vanderbilt University. Good morning, John. STATEMENT OF JOHN LYNCH, VANDERBILT TELEVISION NEWS ARCHIVE, DIRECTOR
MR. LYNCH: Good morning. I have almost got to begin with a little bit of history, because you will not be able to understand my positions if you do not understand some of the history of the Archive.
In August, 1968, the Archive was founded. It was founded shortly after a trip by a Nashville businessman, Paul Simpson, to New York in which he toured the networks, because he was a news fanatic. He was the kind of a person who watched two or three channels at a time in order to see all the news.
During that tour he asked what he thought was an easy question for them to respond to. He wanted to see last week's news. Not last year's. Not ten years ago. Last week's news.
He was told that they routinely erase the tape. Well, the situation has changed. They have made great efforts. They do not routinely erase the tape, but in spite of them and in spite of us, for most people, for the professors who were here this morning, for most people the tape disappears the moment it is shown.
They cannot go back and get it. Yes, we have I Love Lucy. You can go back and watch I Love Lucy. My daughter and I get to share that. That is nice. That is great.
But you cannot watch Nichols. It was only on for half a season. It no longer exists. I mean I am sure it exists. I may be wrong about that.
My feeling is that it probably exists somewhere, but it is too small to deal with. It is not going to exist where someone at Morgan State is going to get access to it.
This is the inherent problem that we have to deal with. So that is what we have done at Vanderbilt Archive. We have routinely tried to preserve, not for a year, not for ten years, for a day. Tried to make it possible to see it the next day.
Out of that has grown, trying to preserve that same tape for ten years or 20 years or longer, but one day at a time.
This year, we will serve two or 3,000 people with videotape loans across the country. These are people who will never come to Nashville, Tennessee, where Vanderbilt is, but they will get videotape from us.
Most of these will be duplications, simply because that is the only way to get something from us quickly and cheaply. Duplication is something that would describe as an entire show or an entire speech.
So if you want the Barbara Jordan key note address, it is a very popular one, if you want that speech, you can get it from the Vanderbilt Archive in loan and you get the entire speech.
But for the evening news, that is really inappropriate. Very inappropriate. The evening news is made up of too many different subjects divided by items. So, we created years ago a special form for doing that and we will loan single items. The problem here is one of cost, both ours and the cost to the user.
One of the gentlemen this morning was talking about having maybe $2,000 and he was listing that as a high figure that he might have.
At our archive, that would buy him 11 hours of compiled material. Now, to put that in some kind of perspective, there are 2,000 hours that we have collected on the Gulf War in just under two months.
So he is not talking about the ability to do very much research at the Vanderbilt archive and yet we are offering him very, very low price.
The way I come at that as being a very low price is it does not pay at all for the million words of indexing that we do every year to make the materials available.
Now the thing to remember about our Archive is we do a very small amount of work. We are doing a million words of indexing a year, but all we are doing at the Archive is taping the national network evening news shows, taping Nightline every night, we are now taping CNN one show a day and beginning to index it and some news specials. Convention coverage, debates, mostly political things.
We are not doing the Today show. We are not doing Good Morning America. We are not doing even most of the news and yet the indexing is over a million words a year.
The point being, it is extremely expensive undertaking, even when you are doing a part of it and it gets even more expensive if you really want to consider doing everything.
The place where I am going to differ probably from more people here and it is kind of an usual one is in my recommendations for what you would come out of this, while I think that the producers ought to have some role and ought to be encouraged to contribute, I by no means think that it is the producer's responsibilities.
Their responsibility was producing the show. They have done that. It is not their responsibility to preserve it. I mean the analogy I come up with in paper would be that you have written the book and you have done it and you have published it.
It is not your responsibility to make sure that people are preserving copies of that book. You might be encouraged to. You might even be a good source, because of your belief in the book, but that really is not your responsibility.
The problem we have in television is that it is not published. What we have goes back to that original thing. It is aired for one time and then it disappears.
It is not published. It does not exist in 150,000 copies or 15,000,000 copies or the Patsy Cline record that is selling 750,000 copies a year.
If television was selling 750,000 copies of itself, as opposed to that many people watching it, more people are watching it, its chances of survival would be relatively high, but it is not.
It is producing a couple of copies here and there and a few videotapes which if most people are like I am, their videotape gets reused over and over again until the videotape is worn out. So a non-permanent copy.
The problem inherent in television is that we have to take very active steps to preserve it and it means things like off air copying, something to that effect. The networks making immediate donations of materials before they disappear.
With one network I know that a particular tape from 1968 was loaned out to the legal department and was never returned. The presumption being that they were afraid of a lawsuit.
The reason I know about this is because in 1992 that network wanted a copy of that tape and fortunately for them we had taped it so we had that tape, but they had to accept inferior quality because the materials we had at the time and they had to accept black and white, also because of the materials we had at the time.
Now, this history means that for us at Vanderbilt preservation has only one point. Preservation is access. Now in the case of books, preservation can be access in 100 years, because access now is guaranteed, but in the case of TV preservation it is for access both today and later.
You really have to continually work to make this possible, which means that there is a need for continuing funds and this is where the problem lies.
At Vanderbilt we discovered long ago if we want to come up with a project we can raise funds. This has been great. We now have an Internet database, which is used by millions of people and made us more accessible to the more common universities across this country as opposed to the Harvards and the Stanfords and the UCLA's.
The reason we have been able to do this is because the Ford Foundation contributed significant money to that, which was great, but at the same time they absolutely told us they would never contribute to our operating budget, which would have been far better, because we were in desperate need and still are in grave need on our operating budget. So some source has to be discovered for creating a situation where that kind of funding can occur for archives.
I am also not a believer that the government can do it. Maybe it is because I am part of my time and I have been watching too many C-SPAN shows, but I think it is simply because it is too large.
I think it cannot be done without the government and cannot be done without the Library of Congress, but I think that the idea that either the Library and I am saying that anyone suggested it, that the Library or any single entity would do it, is just not feasible. It is much too large.
The stuff that I get calls for that we do not have everyday. Just this week I have had a call from the Boston area, a call from North Dakota, a call from Wisconsin and one from California for material that we did not have and in each case for material which I did not know a source for.
One of the things we routinely do and which most archives routinely do, including the networks, is we send people back and forth. I routinely get calls by people who need to go to the network and we send them to the network.
They routinely get calls from scholars that they cannot afford to serve and I think they cannot afford to serve them. They send them to us.
The reason that I think they cannot afford to serve them is because if an accountant were running in my department, he would tell me I cannot afford to serve them. It is a very expensive business.
There are technological advances that may change that. I think the Internet system offers a way possibly, not yet, but of eventually changing that by changing the method by which we can deliver it from one point to another.
I think point-to-point delivery has to eventually evolve for scholars. They need the material in their classroom. Every university and every library cannot afford to own all their material.
Now that also implies that some mechanism would have to be developed to take care of copyright holders and I come from Nashville, Tennessee, so I assume that it needs to be something like an ASCAP or BMI, as Barbara was talking about earlier. Something where the payment method is easy from both ends so that it works.
The school Vanderbilt envies is Emory University. So that the company which puts so much money into them, Coca-Cola, becomes the model for payment, because Coca-Cola makes so much money by selling something so cheap.
Right now in television the model is the other end of that. You sell it one or two times, but you sell it very expensively and this is a model that academia cannot compete with.
So we have to develop a new model so that the industry can make some income and what all this means is that there are a whole slew of laws which have to be each time they come up considered in what they are doing.
These include tax laws. They include copyright laws. They include things like GATT and NAFTA. All these agreements where the U.S. is agreeing to abide by laws coming from other countries, especially dealing with copyright.
Each time these come up, we really need to consider how this affects preservation, both by non-profit organizations and by the profit organizations of their own material. We need to make the laws so that they encourage preservation and donations for preservation.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, John Lynch.
Our next speaker is Dr. Robert Browning, Director, Purdue University Public Affairs Video Archives which specializes in C-SPAN. Bob, I hope you made a recording of that Don Imus speech the other night. I think that it is going to be very important.
MR. BROWNING: We do and we probably already have taken orders for at least 100 copies of that, which will be delivered within five days. So to tell you a little bit of what we do. STATEMENT OF ROBERT BROWNING, PURDUE UNIVERSITY PUBLIC AFFAIRS VIDEO ARCHIVES, DIRECTOR
MR. BROWNING: I am pleased to appear before this panel today. Today you are hearing from archival, industry and education sectors and I perhaps can speak from all three of those and I also may want to be the optimist of today's presentations.
I represent the Public Affairs Video Archives, the C-SPAN archives at Purdue University. We have a unique cooperative relationship with C-SPAN, a national public affairs network which is privately supported by America's cable television companies.
Also, I am an associate professor of political science at Purdue University where I continue to teach and direct a research program that extensively uses this videotape collection.
Our mission is a simple one in purpose, if not so simple in execution. We were created in 1987 within the School of Liberal Arts of Purdue University to record and make available videotape copies of all C-SPAN programming.
The initial planning, funding, recording, indexing and duplication procedures were all implemented by Purdue University with the full cooperation and support of C-SPAN.
C-SPAN recognized the value of its primary source public affairs programming for teaching and research. They also recognized the expertise and value of having an archive developed and maintained by a university.
Scholars and researchers, it was believed, would have the greatest interest in the programming and the greatest understanding of how it could be used.
I should say that we began actually about ten years ago at a meeting on Purdue University's campus with Brian Lamb who was the founder of C-SPAN and grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, and went to school at Purdue University.
He created C-SPAN in a sense because he grew up in Lafayette and had one television station. When he came to Washington he saw all the material there was in Washington and all the public affairs events and wanted the country to be able to see that. So when he came back to Purdue University in 1986 and received an honorary degree, he wanted to talk about a new program called "C-SPAN in the Classroom" and how the programming could be used.
My father was a C-SPAN junkie. He could not understand how his son could teach political science if he was not home watching C-SPAN all day. We all said as professors, several history professors and myself, we could not be at home watching it.
We did not have C-SPAN in our offices and it could not possibly be used unless it was somehow available on videotape. Brian said: "Well we do not want to do that. We are a small network. We started the first network without any television cameras. We took the feed from the U.S. Congress. You all know best how to do that and what scholars want."
So really it was myself and the dean of the school of liberal arts who undertook the operation. We are a land grant institution and I like to say we are the Liberal Arts Experiment Station and in the tradition in a mission of education, teaching, service and research, we began, funded under the School of Liberal Arts as a program.
I guess I was the most knowledgeable and perhaps the most skeptical, which is why they put me in charge. The collection is to use several phrases used here today--it is off satellite and perhaps it is staggering.
We record all C-SPAN programming daily. That is two networks: C-SPAN and C-SPAN2. That is 24 hours a day, 17,520 hours a year. We have a backup system as well. So, we actually record 36,000 hours continuously.
We do that on SVHS tapes and out of that there are probably 7,000 hours of primary program which we index. We do delete certain tapes that have complete duplicate programming. We tend to have multiple copies of significant programs across different tapes.
Our collection today consists of 22,000 VHS copies that we use from 1987 to 1990 and starting in 1991 we converted to SVHS of which we have another 29,000 tapes.
We also have approximately 3,000 original C-SPAN three-quarter inch tapes that were donated to us covering a period between 1979 and 1989.
C-SPAN's primary source of coverage consists of the entire proceedings of the United States House and Senate. The complete other programming includes C-SPAN call-ins, interview programs, committee hearings, gavel-to-gavel political convention coverage, complete speeches by policy makers and elected officials. Unlike other networks, C-SPAN covers events in their entirety, without editing, without commercial breaks.
So this collection takes on the added importance, because it is a complete record of primary events, with an index in audio and video format.
It is what others have described here as recorded history. Some people say to me, is that all you do just C-SPAN? A lot of people do not recognize the range of material that C-SPAN has on it and you just have to stay up 24 hours and watch and you will be surprised.
It includes the remarks of Joe Biden in 1987, which led to him dropping out of the race later; and the remarks of Bill Clinton in 1987, indicating why he did not want to run for president in that year, in order to spend more time with his family.
All those type of things are available. We have Dan Quayle speaking as a Senator on the Senate floor. All those type things are available in our archive.
I also want to emphasize what C-SPAN stands for, which is Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network. The word broadcast is used a lot to refer to public airwaves.
It is important to emphasize that if you did try to videotape the O. J. Simpson trial, and we were O. J.-free at C-SPAN, as they like to say, you could not do that on the public airwaves. You would have to rely upon a commercial and probably a cable or satellite feed.
It is important to keep that in mind as we think of the three major networks and PBS as broadcasters. How much is non-broadcast? How much is on cable?
The range of that and to think about where the financing for that comes from and particularly as we go into the new telecommunications age there is going to be a lot of convergence obviously and it may require people to rethink some of their ideas about approaching not just the broadcast industry, but to think about the vast cable industry as well.
In 1993 we moved into a new facility within the building of the Liberal Arts building at Purdue, which we are housed very closely to the communication and Liberal Arts and political science faculty, which use our collection extensively.
The videotape collection has always been accessible through the purchase of duplicate copies. One of the unique features of our archives is that we designed ourselves to be self-sustaining from the beginning.
The license granted by C-SPAN to Purdue University allowed us to make off air copies for a fee to educators. Now that was a small part of the total marketplace, but it focused us on the educational value both in terms of describing the materials as well as promotional materials such as compilations and educational use.
So we do create compilation tapes as well as sell tapes of complete programs, which is what we do for about 90 percent of our distribution.
The mechanism allowed us to meet the twin goals with C-SPAN of making C-SPAN programming accessible for teaching and research and providing an ongoing source of revenue to finance the operation.
In 1995, we distributed about 8,000 tapes. In 1996, we estimate we will distribute about 12,000 tapes. Since 1987, we have distributed over 53,000 duplicate tapes of C-SPAN programming to educators and non-educators alike.
The size of the collection required indexing and a retrieval system and we built that from the beginning ourselves. We rely heavily upon the strong talent we have at a technological university such as Purdue.
We created an indexing system and today the master recording system, the tape collection, the bar codes, the duplication system, the indexing, retrieval, the customer base are all managed electronically.
We sort of came in at a time where software and hardware were becoming much more decentralized and affordable and we capitalized on that.
We defined our programs by subject, formats, sponsor, committee, location, all of those type of things. Let me just say a word about the relationship with C-SPAN, because I think it is a unique partnership.
From 1987 to 1995, we financed ourselves through the sale of tapes to educators. C-SPAN subsidized that in two ways by providing grants up to $60,000 a year to educators who obtain tapes from Purdue.
So you can get script or a coupon that you could make your own choice about what you wanted. If you wanted to study the Persian Gulf War, you could write a proposal to C-SPAN and they would grant you the coupons so that you could contact us and make the choice. In addition to that, we did contract work for C-SPAN in doing their tape distribution for non-educators.
In 1996, early in this year, we reached a new contract agreement with C-SPAN that really brings us all into one house. There is one 800 number at this point that educators and non-educators call.
If you want research assistance, you press a button on the voice system and you connect to the research desk at Purdue. We answer the questions.
We have a contract with a local company in Lafayette that handles all our financial arrangements, such as credit card sales, billing, and they do shipping.
We guarantee all delivery between seven to 14 days. A normal tape is distributed, which means six months old, is distributed within seven days and an archival tape, 14 days. The price is $30 an hour.
The arrangement gives Purdue a percentage of those fees and actually not just a percentage but a guarantee because obviously if you did not know what the volume was, you could not operate.
So we reached agreement based upon the past sales. It really serves the twin purposes of allowing us to be financed and be independent, but also allowing all C-SPAN viewers, whether they be educators or non-educators, to obtain copies.
So the average tape is very easy to do. We may make this week 300 copies perhaps, but the tape of Newt Gingrich speaking on the House floor in 1986 or something of that sort, 1987, would take a little bit more work, but we can still find that as well as almost anything we can pull up by a speaker's name and create a copy.
Finally let me say that C-SPAN also funds a research program at Purdue in which I extensively use the programming in my teaching. The "C-SPAN in the Classroom" program has over 13,000 members who actively acquire programming or tape it themselves.
C-SPAN's copyright policy is more open than any other network. Any teacher can record anything off the air and use it, as long as they wish, if they do not make commercial use of it. Just for their own classroom.
The fair use idea, I mean if you can record it, you can use it. If you obtain the tapes from us, you pay a fee to us, which I say is $30 an hour and then you can keep that tape as long as you wish.
So we are also using the videotapes and researching Congressional floor behavior, researching presidential images, all kinds of things of that sort.
I conclude by saying that we have a unique partnerships with a national television network and educational institution. It represents a significant industry commitment to preserving public affairs programming that is unparalleled in scope and completeness.
C-SPAN I believe is the only television network with a complete ongoing archive of its entire telecast, its entire output everyday.
This cooperative relationship is serving the significant need that exists among educators, researchers, viewers and policy participants to obtain, review and use public affairs records in a widely accessible format, VHS tape.
While not a long-term preservation medium the last nine years of C-SPAN programming are completely recorded, indexed and accessible and the technology and expertise that we have will ultimately allow the collection to be transferred into other formats in whole or in part.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Robert Browning. Our final speaker in this panel is Dr. Lynda Lee Kaid, who is director of the Political Commercial Center at the University of Oklahoma, which is the home of the Political Commercial Archive. STATEMENT OF LYNDA LEE KAID, POLITICAL COMMERCIAL ARCHIVE, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA, DIRECTOR, POLITICAL COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
MS. KAID: Thank you. My remarks supplement our written statement which was prepared by myself; Charles Rand, our curator; and Dr. Kathleen J.M. Haynes, from our School of Library Information Studies. I am glad to have a chance to talk about our archive. I think I will spend just a few minutes talking about what we have and what we preserve and how we try to do that and about the way we provide access and then tell you a little bit about what some of our needs are. Why we think that these kinds of materials should be preserved.
The Political Communications Center at the University of Oklahoma was founded in 1984 and it is committed to an interdisciplinary study of the role of communication in the political process.
So our center facilitates research in political communication and provides a forum for discussion of these kinds of issues among scholars and political and media professionals, as well as community and government leaders and the public.
The center is particularly committee to the preservation of our specialized archival holdings in political communication.
The most important of these holdings is the political commercial archive, which includes the Julian P. Kanter Political Commercial Archive and our specialized collection of televised debates as well as a growing collection of international materials that relate to electoral broadcasts in other countries.
Currently our collection contains over 56,000 individual items and it is currently growing all the time. As I speak, my archivist would probably tell me that it is really probably 56,627.
That is one of the ways in which I think we are like some of the other archives you have heard about today and unlike some of the more traditional archives that we have all dealt with in the past.
That is, we continue to grow. We are not a static collection that we can say, here is this body of material and we have to decide what to do about what we have here, because we constantly have to evolve and change and the formats that we deal with change all of the time.
I think that is an important thing that we all have to remember about the preservation issues and the access issues that we deal with, with these kinds of materials.
In the political communication archives that we have, we have a number of different kinds of items. Our collection goes back to the 1930's for our radio materials, which constitute about 5,000 to 6,000 items in our collection and back to the 1940's and 1950's for the film and television items.
I think that probably I do not need to say too much about why these items are important, but if you will bear with me for a minute, I would like to dwell on it for a moment, because I am here today I think to speak not only as someone who supervises an archive of this kind, but also as a scholar who does research with these kinds of materials.
Like some of the people on our panel this morning and some of my colleagues on this panel, these materials are important to me not only to preserve them in an absolute sense, but also because I think they represent an important part of our history.
In our case, we consider these materials the visual history of our electoral system and certainly of our modern electoral system.
I think most of us accept the notion that television has become the preeminent communication means between candidates for election in the United States today and voters.
Over $120,000,000 was spent on political ads just in the general election in 1992. 50-75% of the budgets for all of our major races in the United States today certainly at major statewide levels for Senators and governors and for even Congressional races, 50-75% of those budgets go towards the production of political advertising materials, such as the ones that we preserve in the Political Commercial Archive at Oklahoma.
So we believe these materials are important not only because they are the major form of communication between candidates and voters, but because they have themselves become a major part of the content that other media use to cover political campaigns.
Today you do not see much about a political campaign in a newspaper or in magazines or on television news without hearing discussion about the political advertising and about the political spots that are used in the campaigns.
We try to preserve those materials not only at the presidential level, but our collection is the most comprehensive and the largest collection in the world of these materials, including not only presidential campaigns but campaigns all the way down to local and school board elections, as well as spots that were produced for issue campaigns, public policy debates, like NAFTA and health care and other kinds of materials of that kind.
As many other people here today have said, if we did not have these materials, they probably would not be available through other sources.
In fact, we often find that the presidential libraries come to us for copies of materials of the presidents that they are designed to preserve.
The Ford library, the Bush library, the Nixon Library have all come to us recently because they did not have all the commercials for their own presidential entity in their archive. So we think these materials are very important and we are striving hard to preserve them.
We do have a preservation program at the University. However, I think it is only fair to say it is not very far along. We have tried to discuss what we need to do.
Bill Murphy was a member of a panel who came to the University in 1988 and helped us to set some priorities and to discuss what we needed to do, but we have not been able to do much more from a preservation standpoint than to provide a climate and humidity controlled place for storing the tapes and to provide some kinds of security and a Halon fire retardant system.
Those kinds of basic things are really the only thing we have been able to do from a preservation standpoint for our holdings.
I found myself, as I am sure other colleagues here did today, laughing a little bit when some people said this morning that those universities who have the archives are rich universities and able to do this.
We are not rich in our ability to do this and it is very much a hand to mouth operation for us. We have not been able to invest a lot of resources in that.
We are, I believe, much farther along in our commitment and our accomplishments on access to our collection. We are able to provide access to our collection through a series of finding aids and bibliographic control items, largely as a result of some funding that we received from the U.S. Department of Education.
Beginning in 1988, the U.S. Department of Education strengthening library research programs under Title II-C has been providing us with some funding to assist in our cataloguing effort and as a result of that, we have been able to put together a two tiered system of access to our archive.
We have first of all a local database, which I suspect is a little similar to what Purdue is describing, in the sense that we are able to provide access according to the candidate, the year, the election, the state it was in and a host of other specialized items that are part of a computer database that we keep on a commercial-by-commercial basis.
We retain that database in Oklahoma and we constantly work with it, and about 72% of our holdings are catalogued and entered into that database at this point. So about 41,000 of the 56,000 items that we have are available in that local database.
At a broader level, we collect our materials together into what we call collection level records under the AMC format and upload those to OCLC, so that our materials are available.
You can find out through OCLC what is in our collection in the sense of do we have commercials for Richard Nixon and if so, which of his campaigns do we have? We collect those all together for this national access point.
We also produce a printed catalogue of the collection, which was produced originally in 1991 and will be updated this summer and available in the middle of the summer probably, which will I think bring us much closer up to date than the 1991 version was.
Then we also produce a regular sort of newsletter that we call Political Advertising Research Reports which we use also to help people know what is in the collection and what kind of research usage it is getting.
So in almost every way I think we are much farther along in access than we are in preservation, but like many of the archives here, we are badly in need of some kind of program that would help us to do the very basic things that I think we need to do to preserve these kinds of materials.
We need more and better equipment. We need updated equipment so we do not endanger our materials by playing them on outmoded equipment. We need to be able to store our archival masters in better climate controlled facilities.
We need to have the staff necessary to engage in even simple things like a rewind program for our videotapes, which we simply do not have the staff to do every year.
So we have those kinds of needs and they are very severe needs for us. We believe strongly that if we cannot find a way to get funding or to get some kind of system in place at the national and then perhaps decentralized level, that we will not be able to preserve these valuable materials.
The University will not be able to support it. They will not have funds to continue it and these kinds of materials will disappear and with it, the visual history of our electoral system I think will disappear, and that is why I think it is so very important that we do this.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much for your statement.
Do we have any questions or comments from our panelists?
MR. BURKE: C-SPAN sends the tapes of the House and Senate floor proceedings also to the Library of Congress and to the National Archives, I understand.
Is the difference between what they do with them and what you do with them the value added indexing and all of that or is there a difference?
MR. BROWNING: I believe the Congress sends its tapes to the Library of Congress and to the National Archives.
MR. BURKE: That is what I meant.
MR. BROWNING: Not C-SPAN.
MR. BURKE: Right.
MR. BROWNING: Okay.
MR. BURKE: The original feed I guess.
MR. BROWNING: Right. Because original feed comes from the United States Congress. So that is deposited with the Library of Congress and the National Archives.
We are I guess value added of satellite telecast. We have time code as well as the on-line indexing system that we have, which is a tremendously value added.
MR. BURKE: Have there been any negotiations or discussions about sharing those indexes and whatnot with the people who have assuming the exact same material?
MR. BROWNING: I think we have cooperated back and forth with sending information to the National Archives. I think now that we are getting into a period and there has even been advances internally in the United States Congress and the kind of documentation that they have and I think we are getting into a period where there is an overlap. Much more overlap between the materials we have.
I think that we have had some contact with them and just need to follow through on what kind of cooperative arrangements can be made.
MR. MURPHY: Just one additional point on that subject. The National Archives also has a deposit agreement directly with C-SPAN for its originally produced programs. How do you see the agreement in terms of your archives? Is it redundant or extra protection?
MR. BROWNING: C-SPAN obviously has an awful lot that is played from tape, as we say. It is not live. All the field recordings are made on tape and the studio recordings.
They have a program which we are now part of, now that we have this agreement in place, our commitment was to make the programming accessible for education and research, to make sure that there was a single copy existent of everything that C-SPAN did.
C-SPAN records on M-II, which is expensive. They put some material onto Hi-8. They erased some things and then after five years what they have held onto they deposit with the National Archives.
So now that we have the agreement in place for Purdue, I think we will look at sort of how these two things interact. We actually index all C-SPAN's tape ID's into our database as well.
So part of the agreement is that C-SPAN will start using our database for its own internal purposes as well and then we go to the next step of looking at whether there should be some kind of new arrangement or new thinking about how best to share all of this to make it more widely accessible.
MS. RINGER: First of all, I do see a theme here, which implies a great deal of duplication of effort. I think that is pretty much what you are saying.
There does not seem to be a "Mother Church" at the moment to get people to sit down and talk about what they are doing--maybe sharing stuff or saying that if you are doing it, we do not need to do it. That sort of thing.
That is badly needed. I think, if I might say so, that the Library of Congress could provide that role.
I think that there is a tendency that you need to get over. I do not know what you want to call it--professional jealousy, turf wars, or dog in the manger.
There are things being done that could be let go, because somebody else is doing them. You have already cited some examples.
This needs to be structured somehow but I think maybe people are beginning to realize the benefits of something like that.
Obviously the Library of Congress cannot do it all. But I would like to hear from this group whether or not you think that the ideas that have been floated--involving general off-air taping, maybe from feeds--would be valuable. I would like to throw into that the question of digital compression.
I have been playing around with CD-ROM's lately and I am just astonished at what you can get in one little disc. I just shot $3,200 to Bureau of National Affairs to get CD-ROM's of all the intellectual property cases back to 1948. The indexing allow full text searching. Unbelievable. I am beginning to realize what the potential here is and we have not even touched it, and you have not really gotten into that very much.
It does seem to me that the Library--if it did enter into something like you heard discussed earlier, which would be full retrieval of something, maybe just national broadcasts-- could start experimenting with digital compression because that is obviously the way to go. Once you have done that, then it is preserved and available if you can get over the copyright problem.
John, I knew Paul Simpson very well and I was very impressed with him. I am aware that there were political implications at the beginning. There was a piece in the New Yorker suggesting this was all a deep plot of Nixon versus the media. Paul convinced me that was not true and he convinced me in the most clear cut way, which was that he broke down in tears, because he felt that deeply about it and was deeply offended that anybody would suggest it.
I do not think that really plays a role in this anymore, but it was used against him. The networks, particularly CBS, were very, very hard-nosed.
I wondered whether you have gotten over any of that and whether or not you have licenses from any of the copyright owners.
MR. LYNCH: We do not have licenses. I think there are multiple reasons for that. I think that if we have licenses, at this point anyway, it would obligate the networks to things they do not want to be obligated to and then it would in turn obligate us to things that we do not want to be obligated to.
We have ongoing discussions with the networks regarding trying to find ways in which they can help us and we can help them without that kind of strong commitment.
Let's use some recent examples. Dateline had the show they did on the GM truck. NBC in the agreement with the GM has agreed never to show that again. Now, unfortunately we do not have it, but if we had it, that is not something we would agree to. That is a published document. We would make that document available.
Now, if we had an agreement with NBC, it would almost force us in a situation like that to be a part of NBC's agreement that it could not be shown again.
One of the problems with that is, then what is a very significant document for the study of mass communications disappears. It is a significant document for precisely the reason why it is disappearing. This is a case where what they did is significant and it needs to be studied. It needs not to disappear.
MS. RINGER: That does not seem to me a cogent argument against licensing though.
MR. LYNCH: I think eventually when you get to the kind of licensing like you have talked about earlier and more ASCAP style of licensing.
MS. RINGER: Yes.
MR. LYNCH: Then I think it could work, but at this point I think that they are not ready and we are not ready for that kind of a negotiation and yet we keep talking to networks and keep trying to do something like that.
MS. RINGER: Okay. I am just curious and I really do not want to take this group's time with it, but there was a case and it has not been mentioned, involving off air taping by an archive. Were you involved in that?
MR. LYNCH: CBS sued the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and at that time, I was an indexer at the archive. So I knew almost nothing about it, except that the suit existed.
MS. RINGER: Have you been affected by the outcome?
MR. LYNCH: I mean yes we were significantly affected by the outcome, mostly for the good.
MS. RINGER: Tell me why.
MR. LYNCH: Through the copyright law.
MS. RINGER: Yes. That is what I was trying to get at.
MR. LYNCH: The new copyright law, which really was a response to that situation and also a lot of luck. I mean having Senator Howard Baker interested in it and having him as the leader in the Senate. All these things sort of fell together and really helped the archive.
But that law which allows us to do what we were already doing to begin with was significant. Now I think the strongest weight in our working with the networks is that while there has been the occasional thing they would rather had not happened, there was a show in which they replayed some tape of Afghanistan, which was supposed to have been current battle footage at the time and it was not current battle footage and another news program discovered it and played it back and showed that it was not current footage.
Things like that which CBS would rather had not happened or another network would rather it had not happened.
While there are those occasional things, what they have learned through I think all the years that the archive has been there is what they expected did not happen.
What they expected were a whole lot of lawsuits, all using Vanderbilt tape. What they expected was that our tape would turn up on the new cable channels, except they had not defined the cable channels yet so our tape would be all over A&E.
That is not what has happened. It is not that it does not occasionally turn up there and I wonder how. In fact, it turned up in Apollo XIII.
I have no idea how it got there, but we think it got there because we loaned the tape to NBC and NBC sold a copy to the studio, which would be great, because that means they got a copyright fee for that and there have been several occasions where that has happened.
Where we have loaned a tape to someone who used it and paid a copyright fee and in many cases we loaned it directly. So there was no cost to the network for that.
MS. RINGER: That legislation, it preceded the case. I do not remember the details of the case, but it was after 1978.
MR. LYNCH: The case started through in 1975.
MS. RINGER: Maybe we better not get into that.
MR. MURPHY: Let's close with one more question.
MR. FRANCIS: I just wanted to really think out loud. Hearing about the way C-SPAN was put together and how the cable channels got together to create the operation, makes me wonder if we could consider a similar way of dealing with the preservation situation?
Let's say a group of cable companies came together to help fund television preservation. Maybe the funding could then be continued with income from services that operation could offer to the academic and commercial communities.
We are in the age of public/private agreements. Would anyone like to comment on this idea?
We have to look into it in more detail, but it does seem that it could assist us with preservation of television.
MR. BROWNING: Let me make a couple of points. One is that C-SPAN is non-profit. So, there is a factor there, but it was the voluntary public service of the cable industry.
That they volunteered to make this available and while the cable operators pay a small fee of four cents a month, that is small compared to what they would pay for a Turner channel, networks, et cetera.
The second thing is that there is a large growing business which is the video clipping service and they do take revenue which could be available to the networks and there is a major company that does this in major cities.
People think that our timely delivery is important. If something is too slow, they will buy a copyrighted product from another commercial operation that exists in many cities.
So there is revenue. It is hard for the networks and all the commercial entities to get together, because they are all doing a certain amount of sales of their own products through after marketing.
There is the models in other small cities. I mean it is a big inconvenience for a local television station to provide copies of your grandmother's 100th birthday, because you did not tape it.
So some local television stations have agreements with companies in the town to make copies and sell that with a fee back or just to get rid of the headache, because they say it is $50, you bring your own tape and they do not want to do that, because that is not their business in the broadcast market.
Finally just to say a couple of other things. Off air taping forces an organization because you have to time stamp it. You know when it happened and you have that record. It forces you to deal with those tapes that came in every day.
Second, it can distinguish between published and unpublished material. There is material that C-SPAN has collected, a very small amount, that has not aired. It would be the case of the Kerrey and Clinton joke, which they decided was not public affairs. They were eavesdropping as opposed to something.
There is also the case where John Glenn whispers to Warner and it is before the hearing starts and the question is, if it did not go on the air, we do not have it and we do not sell it.
So if the network wants to have its own policies for the material that they did not use that allows them to do that and that is important.
You do not have to worry when you make a copy from the C-SPAN archive that you copied something that where the audio was turned down during airing, because that is a C-SPAN policy on something like that.
Finally, under our license, we have material which is copyrighted by others that we do not distribute. Now, we are not required to destroy that and if you came to campus you could look at that, but there are copyrighted materials that are obtained on a courtesy basis by C-SPAN telecast.
Their policy allows an educator to record that and use it, but it does not permit us to sell it, if C-SPAN does not own the copyright.
That is a very small portion, but that allows a licensee and the licensor to still protect its interest or in our case, protect C-SPAN, because C-SPAN is also sensitive to whether they are making money off of other people's productions.
But these are all C-SPAN cameras taping things that C-SPAN owns the copyright, which is what we primarily deal with.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, panelists.
Let's have the next panel, please. Good afternoon, and let's begin with our first panelist, Mr. Martin Gaston, president of Veir, Incorporated, the News Library. STATEMENT OF MARTIN GASTON, THE NEWS LIBRARY, PRESIDENT, VEIR, INC.
MR. GASTON: Hello. I would like to begin by thanking Southwest Airlines for bringing me here today. As important as these hearings are to our project and the public at large, the innate financial fragility we currently face placed us into a difficult decision of having to choose between paying for our videotapes for the next month or paying for airfare to be here today. With the gracious assistance of Southwest Airlines, I am able to do both.
Secondly, I would wish to thank the Library of Congress for allowing my family the opportunity to speak today and for conducting these proceedings with the goal of preserving that which is truly Americana, the nation's film and video history.
I am here today on behalf of a new non-profit company and subsequent public library system that my family and I have created known simply as the News Library system.
These news libraries are providing an infinite amount of current and historical information to the benefit of school students, teachers, scholars, researchers, universities, corporations, governmental offices, medical centers, et cetera, by allowing people to quickly access audiovisual news information relevant to their specific needs.
My family has been recording, indexing and archiving daily audiovisual news programming for nearly 20 years. Our collection of over 70,000 videotapes is estimated to contained over 300,000 hours of news information encompassing well over 3,000,000 different stories covering literally an infinite amount of subject matter.
Our founder and patriarch Joe Allen Gaston, was an award winning news reporter and cameraman for ABC, NBC and CBS networks and affiliates throughout Texas.
After winning multiple headliner of the year awards as well as UPI and AP news film awards, he realized that the news and information being broadcast each night across the nation was not being stored and archived by anyone, often not even by the local broadcasters themselves.
Joe Gaston knew that meant losing a unique educational and historical perspective of our culture. So, he began accumulating his special collection in 1979 to address this issue.
He continued logging, indexing, recording and archiving daily audiovisual news programs until his death in 1990 and my family and I have carried on the enormous task of maintaining this educational and historical collection right up through today.
A recent Roper Poll discovered that over 81 percent of Americans receive most of their daily news and information and amazingly over 51 percent of Americans receive all of their daily news and information from evening television news broadcasts, yet should someone be away from their television set during these broadcasts, there is not a single location in the world today where the public has free access to the very information that they so heavily rely upon for their daily supply of current news and knowledge.
There is a virtual wealth of information being broadcast to the world with literally no one logging, cataloguing and archiving this information for access by the general public.
In an October 3, 1991 speech on the Senate floor, Senator Orrin Hatch stated, "Broadcast news has unprecedented and nearly limitless influence over public opinion. News programming is, however, as ephemeral as it is powerful - it vanishes once it is aired".
More often than not, the broadcasting stations themselves are not archiving their broadcasts due to the cost restraints associated with maintaining a reserve of this nature. It is simply not cost effective.
It is a shame that what we can only call visual history is currently not being treated as such. The national commitment to broadcast news and to the access of information therein is permanent. Therefore the commitment to its archival preservation for later public research and dissemination must be addressed.
The broadcast news information industry is one of the few, if not only, information providers in the United States that does not have a full service public library system responsible for its indexing, cataloguing, archival preservation and dissemination.
Existing libraries are neither equipped nor trained properly to undertake such an enormous daily task. The public request for research and educational access cannot be met because of limited resources and minimal expertise in this field.
Thus, my family has created and opened the Joe A. Gaston memorial, broadcast news library system with initial branches in Dallas and Houston, Texas.
The News Library is a research and educational collection. It is a not-for-profit service available to anyone having need of the information for purposes of reference, research and review.
Patrons agree not to rebroadcast material from the News Library and not to duplicate it in any respect. All audiovisual information must be checked out and is on loan only.
Our visitors are able to check out anything they wish for a period not to exceed 90 days. Not unlike existing libraries, ours is designed to provide true public access to the collections we maintain.
The goals of our news library system are simple and direct. We seek to provide for the dissemination of broadcasted information to the public, to provide a historical and visual archive of local, national and international issues and images, to create an environment in which news broadcasting is fully appreciated, to enlighten children on the value and importance of news broadcasting as an instructional tool for education and to provide access to television news broadcasts from around the world so people can remain in touch with their homelands, regions, cultures or heritage.
Our mission statement was established to honor the collection we maintain. It reads: The News Library System strives to be the preeminent repository of news broadcasting while providing for the dissemination and preservation of broadcast information within a responsive, stimulating and enlightening environment conducive to learning and research.
The collection we maintain grows daily with the airing of each day's news and events. We have only one collection policy, that of recording and archiving all the news we can. We believe that it is impossible to filter or select news information today for the future users of tomorrow.
No one can tell what news of today will be important to someone years or decades from now. Thus, we capture and archive all we can.
We record on 1/2" VHS videotapes and are very deliberate about the storage and maintenance procedures for the collection. Air temperatures, humidity and purity are all monitored.
The tapes are rewound annually and dusted weekly. We strive to do all we can to keep each newscast and its storage medium alive for as long as possible.
Our collection is indexed and catalogued using a specialized system of coding that we have developed over the years. Stories are paraphrased and summarized not transcribed.
Each is coded by subject matter and its length is also noted. We can search by subject, channel, date, time, name, word, et cetera, providing the ability to truly use the collection as a reference tool for education and research.
The ability to learn from the news is overwhelming. I would invite anyone here to recollect a significant news making event, any event they wish.
I propose that unless you were an eyewitness to that event, your recollection and in fact your predominant memory of it altogether was formulated by broadcast news, either radio or television.
As we began to develop the idea of creating this type of a library, the public certainly had a say in our decisions. The testimonials that follow and actually are appended to this statement are but a small sample of the multitude of requests and appreciative correspondence which aided in our decision to pursue the creation of the News Library System.
I would like to read a couple of those now, but in light of time I will just read one, being from a teacher at Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District, just outside Houston.
She wrote in 1993, "Thank you very much for agreeing to send me news footage on the story of baby Jessica" whom I am sure we will all remember, "who fell in the well in south Texas several years ago free of charge.
"I had contacted all of the TV stations in Houston and none were willing to release the footage at all. I want this footage to use in an E.S.L. classroom." English as a second language.
"We recently read several old newspaper articles and magazine articles about the event. My students were fascinated by the story, but they could not quite visualize what exactly happened.
"None of them were living in the United States at the time of the incident. I think it will really help them visualize what they have already read about and will make reading have more meaning to them.
"I spoke with several other teachers in the building who said that they would love to have a non-profit service of this type available to them to aid in classroom instruction from time-to-time. Thanks again for being of service."
Our dedication to the preservation and dissemination of broadcast information is steadfast. We desire to create a library environment with children's centers and school field trips, artifact exhibits, lecture series programs, a broadcast news hall of fame and a people's choice annual newscasting award banquet, all of which is designed to create an environment in which news broadcasting is fully appreciated and preserved in the public realm.
But a lot stands between us and our goals. Foremost of these is the problem of deteriorating tapes. The reproduction of our earliest master tapes has become a priority for our project and money is the underlying restraint.
The systematic reproduction of our master tapes requires capital that we do not have, yet greatly require. Alongside of the problem of failing tapes is the problem that for every tape we lose, we are adding three additional tapes.
Space is as important a concern for us as is the replacement of our earliest master tapes. We estimate that we will outgrow our current facilities within the year and will require substantially larger space at that time. These are the two most pressing issues we face today.
Also troublesome is the need to reorganize our research database to provide a unified and complete research collection. The coding system we currently use was developed only a couple of years ago and has only recently been standardized for the daily logging procedures.
The earliest material in our collection was logged differently and must be relogged using the standardized coding system that we have now adopted.
It is estimated that over 50,000 hours of news information must be redone in order to provide a unified and standardized research collection.
This will require much more staff than we currently have and speaking of staff, another problem we face currently is that our staff is minimal at best. Having opened our doors in January of this year as a public library, we have not as yet developed the financial resources to hire any staff.
The staff is currently my family and myself, four people total. The daily news information is being recorded and archived, but we have been forced to spend our time fund-raising and fulfilling requests instead of logging the news and maintaining our research database.
We see this as only a short-term problem enduring only until the public becomes aware that we exist and begins to financially support our endeavors, but nonetheless a problem.
The above mentioned problems have all been addressed and accounted for in our capital campaign entitled news to use into the next millennium, information for education campaign.
Our goal is to raise three and a half million dollars to be used over three years for solving the problems we face currently and to subsidize the cost of operating a library of this nature. We are slowly but surely attracting attention and funding.
To conclude, I would say that we have learned much as we continue to develop our unique News Library System. Fund raising is more difficult than anything that we have ever tried before.
The ongoing reply we continue to hear is that funding is currently available for specific programs, not projects. Develop a program within your project and it might get funded, but do not submit entire projects for the seed costs will not be covered. This is distressing because we must first secure our project before we can create programs. It is a vicious circle that we are learning to participate within.
It is our hope and desire that these proceedings today will conclude that ours and the programs of our colleagues will warrant substantial funding participation on behalf of the Library of Congress.
My family's News Library project requires only the assistance necessary to aid in covering our seed costs for space and equipment. For our project, we will cover the rest.
However, others here and across the nation are in need of much more. I am aware of many small archives that are run by only a small department of a larger institution or even by a single person.
All are equally important as we begin to address the issue of the establishment of a comprehensive national television and video preservation program concerned with preserving America's television and video history and heritage.
The task at hand is to understand what exists today across the nation and then decide how best to assure that these endeavors are maintained and preserved for future generations of Americans. Across the nation today, funding is the crucial element to the success of our nation's archives, if only to develop a starting point from which we can then proceed into the communities we serve and solicit additional contributions and sustaining revenues.
On behalf of my wife, Virginia, my brother, Darren, my mother, Beverly and my daughter Kaya, who is incidentally now the third generation of my family to be involved with the daily preservation of audiovisual news programming, I thank you for your time and for the opportunity to present these views.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you for your statement. Our next speaker is Lisa Wood, the audiovisual archivist at the Margaret King Library at the University of Kentucky. STATEMENT OF LISA WOOD, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, AUDIOVISUAL ARCHIVIST, MARGARET KING LIBRARY
MS. WOOD: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to speak today on the state of television and video preservation, especially in our local and regional archives across the country.
The University of Kentucky's audiovisual archives contains one of the largest university based collections of archival film, video and audio recordings in the country. The collection also includes 400,000 photographic images utilized by media producers throughout the nation. With 22,000 films and 3,000 videotapes, the audiovisual archives include University generated programming, the works of Kentucky's independent media producers and the state's most extensive collection of local television programming. The broadcast collections in particular are unique to the state and contain documentation extremely important to present and future historians of the commonwealth. The major difficulties we have encountered in enhancing, managing and preserving these resources lie primarily in providing the staff, funding, equipment and space needed to support this effort.
The University of Kentucky's audiovisual archives has taken the initial steps toward preserving that part of Kentucky's heritage which has been captured on film and video basically through storage and collection. To move beyond these basic functions, the audiovisual archives must seek out ways to enlarge its staff and increase its funding. Currently, access and preservation activities are initiated as needed and the archivist bounces from one urgent issue to another, as there is little time or money for properly planned projects.
Such projects to improve the audiovisual archives situation must be undertaken soon because storage space is becoming increasingly limited as the production of television and video proliferates. As the video and film sits on the shelf uninspected and not reformatted, the materials will continue to degrade. Each reference use of the original materials runs the risk of destroying the only copy of the information. In addition, without proper documentation, finding aids and equipment, retrieving the information is ineffective and inefficient at best. This will eventually result in a loss of information about Kentucky culture.
The value of local and regional television and video materials as resources for research, teaching and production is significant. Research can be done in a number of subject areas documented on the films and videos contained in the University of Kentucky's Audio-Visual Archives. Scholars of Kentucky history might find much of our news footage valuable including stories on the Kentucky Derby, area floodings, the development of education reform and the impact of tobacco on the local economy. Social historians will find a great deal of materials on issues that have affected our national consciousness including the awareness of domestic abuse, early computing history, the tightening of health and safety regulations, the development of environmental concerns and student demonstrations during times of international unrest.
Just as newspaper, manuscripts and personal papers play a significant role in understanding our history, regional television news, special reports and interviews are essential to our understanding of the recent past. Local stations act as filters through which Americans come to understand current events, shape their political opinions, develop their sense of culture and measure their quality of life. People's aspirations are both reflected and influenced by the television and video they watch. A well rounded representation of our national culture and attitudes depends on the preservation of our regional audiovisual materials. Such representation requires that programs produced for local audiences are granted an equal chance of surviving time as those produced by the national media.
In addition to aiding scholarly research about our time, archival footage held in local and regional repositories can enhance the quality of both purposeful and casual educational programs. The University of Kentucky's audiovisual archives has been accessed for a variety of uses in current media productions. A documentary filmmaker viewed footage on the Frontier Nursing Service as background research for an upcoming project and a researcher who is writing a thesis on the Frontier Nursing Service spent an entire week dealing with our photographs and our video. HBO sports has contacted the archives regarding footage of the 1966 NCAA championship game, which marked a turning point in college basketball's acceptance of black players. Subject studies of mining, college basketball, agriculture, medicine, horse racing and Kentucky history would be incomplete without footage from our archives.
There are also many levels of personal use of the television and video materials in our broadcast archives. A woman called requesting footage of her father who had died when she was young, but whose image had been captured on film as an occasional voice from the farming community on the local news. A student accessed the news footage from the WAVE television archives to complete a multimedia sculpture commenting on the violence of our time. Such personal uses of regional footage enable people to revisit their past and enrich their understanding of their lives. The local television materials in our archives contain valuable personal memories as well as the collective memory of a city, region and state. Again, preserving such footage has a value that might be irrevocably lost if we are not able to improve the state of our regional audiovisual archives.
Enhancing traditional funding for preservation and access programs would help regional and local archives significantly, but the most drastic need is for funding that is specifically focused on the needs of regional archives. This could include funds for increasing audiovisual archives staff and operations as well as grants developed to preserve regional history. In addition, greater support of local PBS stations could open a showcase for footage that is stored in regional repositories. Finally, wider distribution of information about grants and other financial opportunities would increase the ease of applying for external funding.
Corporate and private assistance with funding and sharing of resources should be encouraged and would enhance the variety of opportunities available for audiovisual archives. Cooperation between public and private sectors would require that the main networks and their affiliates begin to take a more direct role in video and television preservation. Local affiliates should be encouraged to assist operationally and financially in the effort of preserving the footage they produce, not only as a profitable opportunity, but as an informational service to the community. Media producers and audiovisual archivists should work together to develop a nationwide equipment saving and maintenance program. A national resource for the donation and acquisition of equipment will not only assist producers in disposing of obsolete machines, but it will also provide a source of equipment needed to play archival materials.
National attention, especially from producers, broadcasters and the viewing public, is vital to the preservation of American history as it is recorded on television and video materials. Film preservation efforts like the National Film Registry Tour and American Movie Classics Film Preservation drive can provide models for programs that could enhance the understanding of the need to preserve television and video resources. Such efforts could partner large video rental chains, telecommunication companies, video producers and broadcasters with audiovisual archives to not only make the American public aware of the imminent loss of moving image productions, but also to enhance financial resources for preservation. A wide-scale campaign would support and encourage greater public efforts, commitment to public service and donations by private individuals and companies. The preservation of our national culture depends on the development of a community oriented environment, support of public programs and an understanding of benefits gained through such corporate citizenship.
The regional audiovisual archives greatest need is for a collaborative effort to educate the people who have found themselves in charge of media collections. Audiovisual archivists within universities, state governments and historical societies generally have not been through formal film and videos archives training. Their duties are split between various kinds of materials and they cannot afford to concentrate entirely on film and video. As a result, regional audiovisual archivists may not have sought out the literature, the professional groups and the funding possibilities available to assist them in maintaining their moving image archive collections. Meanwhile, television and video collections deteriorate and become sources of frustration because the archivists are not familiar with the problems and solutions facing institutions with media collections.
A wider understanding of standards, funding possibilities and educational opportunities could empower audiovisual archivists with the knowledge of the potential available to them. The Association of Moving Image Archivists, archival programs and library schools provide an important framework for audiovisual archivists, but education should be enhanced through regional societies, available publications and traveling workshops. Public archives and institutions should be prompted to allow for more professional education in their budget and to encourage their employees to attend the needed workshops and meetings. Archivists need to have more thorough training in project management skills, promoting the needs of their collections and professional standards for non-print materials.
With the proper knowledge of the needs of their collections and the potential opportunities that may be available, audiovisual archivists will begin to create their own standards, educational opportunities and funding possibilities. Overall, the moving image archives profession needs to learn how to do more with less, to identify priorities and to develop greater opportunities.
In considering the state of video and television preservation in the United States, it must be recognized that local and regional repositories of such material tend to be under funded, understaffed and under utilized. Yet some of these same archives hold some of the richest moving image material documenting the history and culture of the United States over the past 50 years. Additional funding opportunities, national awareness of the preservation situation, collaboration between public and private sectors and increased educational opportunities for moving image archivists are fundamental to preserving the nation's heritage as it has been captured on a wide variety of television and video materials.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Lisa Wood. Our next speaker is Thomas Connors who is the curator of the National Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland. Tom. STATEMENT OF THOMAS CONNORS, NATIONAL PUBLIC BROADCASTING ARCHIVES, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, CURATOR
MR. CONNORS: Thank you, Bill, for the opportunity to speak to you and the panel today.
The National Public Broadcasting Archives is a unit of the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries. The Public Broadcasting Archives serves as the archival depository for the major entities of American Public Broadcasting.
These entities include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio, Children's Television Workshop, the Association of America's Public Television Stations and other organizations involved in non-commercial radio and television programming and program support.
The National Public Broadcasting archives also collects the papers of individuals who have made significant contributions to public and educational broadcasting in the United States.
The archives was founded in June, 1990. It was initiated by Dr. Donald R. McNeil, an educator and former lay member of the PBS board of directors.
Don McNeil was in the position of bringing together the heads of several public broadcasting organizations and representatives of the UMCP libraries to negotiate an agreement for archival services. Prior to this, nothing existed in the way of systematic archive activity within public broadcasting.
I just wanted to note here that Don McNeil passed away on February 8, after a long and slow decline in health. It is interesting that Don started his career as the assistant director and then acting director of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in the 1950's.
He was instrumental in establishing the mass communications collection there. So, it was a nice way I think to end his professional career as he started it, which is with an archival mission.
In his last days, he remained aware of the progress of the public broadcasting archives and was always available to advise and we will definitely miss him.
The early mission of the National Public Broadcasting Archives focused on the textual record of American public broadcasting.
It was felt that the collecting activities of the Library of Congress and the National Archives in the area of public broadcasting media was addressing the issues of preservation of and access to film and tape.
When I joined NPBA in early 1993 however, it was becoming clear that there were audiovisual materials that were falling through the cracks, that were not being collected by the Library of Congress or the National Archives.
So we decided that the Public Broadcasting Archives should become involved in certain aspects of the collection and preservation of moving image and audio materials as well as textual records.
I think this is important to emphasize, because the textual materials that we have document and support the ultimate product of the whole process, which is the program that is aired.
I think if we are talking about the archives, television archives, moving image archives, we should be talking about textual materials as well as moving image material.
I will concentrate my remarks on the issues of moving image preservation and access as they show up in the work of the National Public Broadcasting Archives.
We currently hold some 800 two-inch videotapes from WETA, which is a local public broadcasting station. Some 2,000 three-quarter inch video cassettes from PBS. Some 100 one-inch videotapes from Maryland Public Television.
About 500 three-quarter or half inch cassettes also from MPT and 500 kinescopes and several hundred two-inch videotapes from the Agency for Instructional Technology, which is located in Bloomington, Indiana.
We have agreements with all of these organizations to provide this service. Program titles include surviving copies, for instance, of Hodge Podge Lodge, which was a children's television program produced by MPT in the 1970's, Live from the Birchmere, Live from Wolftrap, Town Meeting, several shows produced by NPACT, which was the National Public Affairs Center for Television, a production unit that hot into some hot water in the 1970's when the Nixon administration did not like the kinds of programs that they were producing.
There are also tapes of 1970's vintage PBS coverage of professional tennis. Shows like PBS Late Night and Over Easy, plus in-house closed circuit video communications between PBS and member stations.
We expect to be receiving more videotapes from WETA, MPT and PBS in the coming months. So, it is a fairly small collection. But it is a coherent collection at this point, and it will grow, as these things grow.
The main local problem we face is environmental and I raise that, that is proper storage space, temperature, humidity levels, and I raise this because I think you have spoken to some representatives of institutions that are really cutting edge and they have their materials under fantastic environmental control.
I think you will find, and you may have found in the other hearings that you have held, that a lot of moving image material out there is collected in historical societies and stations for that matter under environmental conditions that are less than optimal.
Our own problem with environmental control is something that has been ongoing and we do see some resolution in terms of rehabbing the entire HVAC system in our building.
However, more crucial that the problems associated with physical storage and maintenance of videotape is the larger problem of reformatting for preservation and for access.
The two-inch videotape reels that many program masters are recorded on range in age from 25 to 35 years. In our case, these seem to be in fair condition physically, but we know that they have exceeded their natural life span and will require some kind of reformatting.
Cost wise it is impossible to transfer all the programs we hold to a more stable videotape format. It is therefore necessary to devise a selection process so that the best of our public television program holdings are sure to be preserved.
In this statement, I obviously am contradicting my colleague, Douglas Gomery, who was speaking this morning and saying that we should try to keep everything.
In resolving this problem of reformatting, I am envisioning a three-tiered scheme that clearly delineates one, those programs that are the best and most representative examples of the 50 years of educational and public television in the United States.
Two, those that are good and worthy programs to be reformatted for preservation as finances allow and three, those programs that will be allowed to live out their lives in the medium of their provenance.
I had the opportunity recently to pursue development of this scheme and I will now speak about my progress in that regard.
Last year, I along with a colleague in public broadcasting archives applied for and was awarded a Bentley Library Fellowship to study the issue of archival appraisal of public television programming.
The Bentley Historical Library, as you may know which is at the University of Michigan, co-sponsors with NEH and the Mellon Foundation fellowships given to archivists who reside in Ann Arbor in the summer months for the purposes of studying some problem or issue in archival theory or administration.
My partner in the fellowship is Mary Ide, archivist from WGBH in Boston, who is here today. In the course of our work at the Bentley, we derived a set of guidelines that we think begins to address the problem of selection.
Our underlying argument is that those who have dared to propose selection guidelines for television and video have been either strongly oriented to the physical medium, that is the state of deterioration where if you have a tape that is shedding, you transfer it as quickly as you can, without necessarily asking what is this that I am transferring. Or they have been all inclusive in their content categories. Let's do all public affairs. Let's do all cultural performance, et cetera, et cetera.
We were looking for a more stringent set of appraisal considerations to guide us in making decisions regarding reformatting for preservation and the considerations we derived is an interpretative framework, not so much a checklist to say yea or nay, as to whether something is reformatted or not, but it is an interpretative framework to understand the program that we are talking about.
We came up with several guidelines. The first has to do with program origin or provenance. The second is cost of retention. The third involves implications of the selection decision and the fourth involves reference potential. The fifth guideline involves certain critical value considerations.
We derived these through a study of the traditional archival canon, as far as appraisal goes. Bill Murphy I know has spoken in these terms as well and as we were doing this study at the Bentley, we did not realize that you had been talking about this. So, it is nice to know that we are in the ballpark.
What we need to do next is to test our guidelines to see how they work in day-to-day archival practice. Of course I should say here too that Mary and I are a good team, because I am looking at things from a national programming viewpoint and she was looking at things from a station viewpoint.
I think if we continue this work we will come up with a good model that covers public broadcasting in general.
Of course you will be speaking to public broadcasting people this afternoon so it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.
What I think I want to do next is to hire a moving image archive specialist to run the film and tape in our custody and to create a database of information on each program based on our selection guidelines. I think that database, what begins to emerge, would be very useful in seeing whether these guidelines work or not.
We have been pursuing this from an archives profession point of view of course, but we think it necessary to include the industry itself in our discussion so another step that we have to take is introducing what we are doing to the public broadcasting community.
I think this goes for the larger discussion of preserving television programming in general, this is also a point of dispute, but I think the industry must be made to understand its responsibility in the work of preserving its own program legacy.
When people say that they have produced something, that they have a product, and the product went out and that is all they have to do, it does not make sense to me. Corporate archives exist to maintain the institutional memory of the corporation in question and I think national networks could see this as well.
Just one last thing I want to point out is that collateral to the project that I have just described, this appraisal guidelines project, is another effort that I would like to mention briefly.
This is the Public Broadcasting Program Index project whose aim is to produce a complete online catalogue index of public and educational radio and television programs.
Contained in each program record, among other information, would be information on where a master tape of the program exists and who owns the rights to that program.
The program index project is a consortium effort among several organizations recently initiated by SOUNDPRINT Media Center, Inc. and we are trying to find some funding to begin to establish this program index.
I have only spoken about what is happening in a small corner of the moving image archives scene and I look forward to hearing what others have to say and I have certainly gained from what people have said so far.
There are many issues to be addressed obviously and I have only spoken about those issues that affect me most directly at this moment.
I would recommend that some kind of continuations apparatus be established and I think you mentioned this, this morning, Mr. Francis, that some kind of continuations mechanism be established as a result of these hearings so that those of us who are speaking here today, representatives from academia, from the television industry and from the preservation professions can begin to speak to one another more systematically than we have in the past.
Perhaps a follow-up conference would be useful and I just wanted to say that I would be happy to lend my energies to organizing and realizing such a conference. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Tom Connors.
Our next speaker is Paolo Cherchi-Usai, the curator of the Motion Picture Department at George Eastman House. STATEMENT OF PAOLO CHERCHI-USAI, GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY, SENIOR CURATOR, MOTION PICTURE DEPARTMENT
MR. CHERCHI-USAI: I would like to thank you for this opportunity to express my views about the future of video and television preservation in this country.
I would like to start by saying that the archive where I operate has a fairly small collection of video and television programs, about 2,000 compared with a collection of motion picture films that exceeds 18,000.
However, I have noticed in the past few years some remarkable similarities between the questions we are addressing today and the questions we addressed when we started dealing with the preservation of photographic moving images.
Basically I belong to a generation of archivists that became preoccupied with moving image preservation because of the disparity between the poor quality of the images we were seeing and the much better quality of the "originals" from which these images were taken. We began to investigate the cause of this disparity, and soon discovered that for some time whenever photographic moving image was preserved it was fairly common to accept as inevitable the destruction of the element from which the reproduction was taken.
This practice was natural, and to some extent almost desirable, given the dangerous flammability of the nitrate motion picture base.
Now we may as well take the same approach when we think of the preservation of media and television programs and items, because it is true that we already are surprised at the poor quality of video and television reproductions of programs and artifacts made a very, very short time ago.
On an international scale let's go to the issue of the destruction of these moving images. There is and possibly never will be any reliable statistics on this point, but from an estimate made with the collaboration of fellow archives all over the world, it would be fair to assume that less than the 0.001% of the video and television moving images produced since 1950 has disappeared already.
The general public has some awareness of the loss of moving image from the beginning of the century, but is certainly not as aware that the phenomenon of moving image destruction is much wider than it has ever been.
From an archival standpoint, there is a silent agreement among archivists that differs again from the official pronouncements of professional archival associations.
For years a catch phrase among film archives has been we must preserve, restore and show everything and we try to stick to this principle. In practice, we simply preserve, restore, and show what we can.
The point has never perhaps been made explicitly, but we have given up from the start the notion of preserve, restore and show everything when it comes to video and television artifacts.
Archives and archivists tend to be highly specialized. We try to preserve video and television about sports, about news, about political events, but we lack a comprehensive preservation agenda.
I am talking about highly civilized countries. I am excluding purposely the developing countries that do not even dealt with the issue. In the photographic moving image, the issue of preservation was in a way a contradiction in terms, given the fact that photographic film was meant to be used, consumed and thrown away after its commercial use.
This contradiction is pushed to extremes in the case of video and televised images. Again, let's face it, we are still considering as a preservation tool something that was hailed and publicized as something that denies the very notion of preservation. Something you can use to record and erase and record again moving images. Here is another even more telling contradiction I think. The creation of moving images has never been such a democratic phenomenon as it is today. But the selection of video and television images has never been so power-oriented as it is today.
A revealing case in point might be the situation that we are witnessing in European countries where if you look for any televised footage of the student riots in 1968, a rather important event in European history, you will hardly find more than a couple of hours of footage of very, very bad quality. This is only one of many examples that can be made about this issue.
How do we tell the public that preserving video and television programs is necessary? Again, I have to make a bridge between video and television preservation and photographic moving image preservation.
We had been trying and we are still trying to convince the public that transferring film onto video is not a good idea.
We all receive letters and phone calls from people who find their home movies, find their films and think that they have to be preserved on video and we are telling them no, do not do it. It is wrong. Film should be preserved on film.
Well, I have not heard any plausible way I can convince anybody that while a film should not be preserved on video, still yes, we should preserve video on video because in that case the preservation is necessary.
Whenever we think of any fund raising project for video and television preservation, this is a contradiction we will have to come to terms with, but what is worse to me is that this is only the beginning of an even more radical contradiction widespread in our role as archivists on this point.
I say this is only the beginning because I think we are discussing here our last attempt to apply a conventional notion of preservation to the last remains of the moving image conceived as something that can be carried by an object.
Corporate executives are clear. They are saying that CD-ROM's, laser discs are the swan song of the image carrier in the way we have been used to perceive it so far and there will be no more.
This end of an era will have several consequences on our job and I would like to just briefly list the main ones. First, on a positive noteI think that museums will witness a major change in their roles as guardians of the last moving images perceived through objects. Museums will find themselves with objects that nobody cared about before but that have now become important; museums will rise in stature as repositories of the last images that people can actually touch.
Second, the very notion of the moving image as an art of reproduction will no longer make sense. Physical reproduction will be replaced by the electronic distribution of a single master print through new media technologies.
Third, image manipulation will become overwhelming and uncontrollable. I think it is already overwhelming and uncontrollable, but it will be even more so.
More and more the way we look at moving image will resemble to the way we look at oral cultural and oral tradition.
Because of the disappearance of an object, we will be dealing with entities that change through time so fast that their conservation may as well be compared to the conservation of the oral tradition and the museum of the moving image of the future may well be thought of as a museum of oral history.
As a consequence of this, I would like to add that while I am not a lawyer and not a copyright expert, I really see no way in which the corporate copyright laws of today are anywhere close to adequate to cope with this phenomenon of inotropic dispersion of images.
Well then what to do? Because this is only the beginning, I would dare to propose something that may find ourselves here 20 years from now when we will be discussing the preservation of the World Wide Web and Internet information.
First, there should be a World Wide Web preservation act. Given the direction of today, we should start thinking of what are we going to do with this huge amount of moving images of which we have no control whatsoever. How many hundred thousands do exist? Nobody knows.
Second, in practical terms, I see no alternative to a combined strategy between the public and the private in this field.
I see a centralized management in the directions of technology for the preservation of image on video and television and a decentralized strategy in terms of access to the restored objects, whatever these restored objects are, with management and access linked by experts capable of going back and forth between the private and the public, the center and the periphery, when it comes to knowing how these technologies can be improved.
Finally, I would make an appeal to go beyond the national boundaries in this respect. If we are really convinced that the proliferation of moving images is a worldwide phenomenon, I certainly think it would not be unreasonable to recommend the Congress to make any possible effort to get the United Nations involved in this case and to make an appeal for the creation of internationally accepted standard for the preservation of video and television images.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
We have heard some very compelling statements. I am sorry, we do not have time for questions right now. The cafeteria will be available for service until two o'clock.
I would like to convene the meeting at 2:15. Please be back at 2:15. Thank you.
(Whereupon, at 1:40 p.m., the hearing was recessed, to reconvene at 2:15 p.m., this same day, Tuesday, March 26, 1996.)
A F T E R N O O N S E S S I O N 2:25 p.m. MR. MURPHY: Good afternoon. I hope you have all enjoyed your lunch. Welcome to the next session of our hearing on the Preservation of American Television and Video.
We are going to begin with a panel of people involved in broadcasting and production. Our first speaker will be Barry Sherman, who is a professor and director of the Peabody Awards, School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. Hello, Barry. STATEMENT OF BARRY SHERMAN, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR, PEABODY AWARDS, SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
MR. SHERMAN: Hi, Bill. It is a great honor to be here today and in many ways I feel that my testimony is a bridge from what began earlier today and will continue this afternoon, because I bring three different perspectives to the table.
Number one, as an educator who received his Ph.D. at Penn State in the mid 1970's and professed to teach the first course at Penn State's University Park campus on the history of television.
At that time, it was debatable whether television had a history, whether that history was worth teaching and if you decided to teach the history of television, whether there was access to the original materials for the study of television. So I bring that educator's background to the table.
In addition, the Peabody Awards and archive at the University of Georgia represent an unbroken line from 1940 and since television's first entry in 1948 of the best work each year produced by radio, television stations and more recently cable companies.
In that sense, we have at the University of Georgia an unmatched archive, an archive I will tell you a little bit about that has both the same advantages and pitfalls of all the other archives represented earlier today.
I am first up on a panel of broadcasters and production people. It is our job at the Peabody Awards to recognize and encourage the best in broadcasting and cable each year and to provide a beacon, if you will, the "Q" chip, the quality that says to an increasingly skeptical public and political arena that yes, what a lot of people do in broadcasting and cable is valuable, is significant and has impact on people's lives for the positive.
Each year we sit in judgment of 11 or 1,200 television programs and from those select only the very best. I will point out a little later that we preserve all of those 1,200 and celebrate each year between 25 and 35 programs or individuals for an award.
Let me put on my educator hat for a second and speak briefly from an article I wrote for the forthcoming manual for the administration of television news archives on question number one for this panel and for many people in the audience, why save television.
I attempted in chapter one of that manual to make the case for television preservation. Most historians embrace Santayana's oft-quoted maxim that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
This is the primary impetus to preservation. To develop a collective memory, a record of our experience. For centuries books, letters, paintings, sculpture and other arts have been painstakingly preserved, catalogued and made available to varying degrees to succeeding generations.
How many contemporary historians however have been willing to make the leap to the artifacts of the electronic age, specifically television?
Indeed the very terms in our language used to describe a second look at television materials, rerun and repeat, seem pejorative to suggest diminishing value over time.
The argument that broadcast programming, particularly the output of commercial television is deserving of preservation and curatorial effort traditionally accorded print materials is often very difficult to make.
It strikes at the nature of archives, libraries and museums and their proper function in society. It dredges up longstanding debates about the relative importance of moving images and the spoken word when contrasted with the presumed preeminence of books.
It kindles philosophical and ideological arguments around such topics as cultural bias, commercialism, high and low culture and the amorphus issues that we debate today about impact or effects.
It presents perilous technical and personnel problems from obsolete formats to issues of signal degradation, from the need from curators and scholars, to the essential expertise of engineers and other technicians.
Let me make the case that television briefly is as deserving as film for historic preservation. Some years ago a former advertising executive presented four arguments for the elimination of television.
Essentially his main points were that the medium is by its nature impersonal, it separates people from actual experience, its images stultify the imagination and generally dim the brain and that the medium is inherently biased against accuracy, subtlety and difference.
Like many broadsides, there is a kernel of truth in each argument which makes the manifesto compelling, but it is precisely these reasons which make TV preservation essential. It is not just television.
With all its faults, limitations and biases, the television image is above all an invaluable and irreplaceable history of our life and times.
One good reason to uncover and preserve vintage television is to address a common misconception that film predated the development of television and that is therefore in some measure film is superior.
Because of the commercial success of the kinescope and nickelodeon parlor and the mass production of celluloid prints and negatives, plus paper prints made for copyright purposes, many films survive from the mediums early days.
However, saved for some old rickety equipment in the hands of a few collectors, the product of television's progenitors has largely disappeared.
As a result, there has been a persistent celebration of the primacy of film over the television image, a sense that somehow celluloid is better, more artistic or more worthy of preservation than is television.
This conceit is often reflected in the archival community as a predisposition to preserve film, videotape movies over television shows.
It is important to appreciate that experiments which led to the development of film and television were simultaneous. Both media sprung from a common ancestor, the advent of photography and advances in physics, electronics and optics in the mid 19th century.
While one set of experimenters and entrepreneurs moved into motion pictures, Muybridge, Edison, M_li_s, Porter, et cetera, a second group of lesser known inventors was making attempts to transmit pictures through the air.
Just briefly, in 1882 an Englishman named William Lucas described electronic television. By 1884, a primitive form of television had been demonstrated in Germany by Paul Nipkow.
As film moved from side shows and music halls into prominence as a legitimate if silent art form, early forms of television were developed and publicly demonstrated.
By the 1920's, even as the first radio stations were built, television receivers were being marketed by John Logie Baird in Great Britain and by Charles F. Jenkins in the United States and the same time that the Jazz Singer was revolutionizing motion pictures, television plays were being produced in Schenectady, New York and in California.
Mary Pickford's film Taming of the Shrew was already a staple of young hobbyist Philo T. Farnsworth's regular television schedule.
The point is that the archival value of film has been demonstrated somewhat ironically due to its photographic base, its record of mass production and the happenstance of the tenacity of celluloid stock.
Television on the other hand was conceived from the beginning as a live electronic medium, was not mass produced or distributed until the late 1940's and perhaps most importantly lacked a significant means of preservation until a quarter century after the emergence of sound movies.
In the interest of time, I will move on, but to sum up, I think in preserving film we preserved the most important visual artifact of a 19th century technology rooted in chemical and mechanical processes, the camera and the projector, the very remnants of the mechanical age.
Video however and television programming is almost a perfect metaphor for 20th century visual experience. It is rooted in the same physics, optics and microelectronics that brought us into the atomic era.
Its emphasis on immediacy, impermanence and for good or ill commerce represent to succeeding generations in some measure the values of our 20th century society, particularly in the west.
My point is that neither film nor television debate that one is superior or better is moot. Both deserve our attention and our efforts at preservation.
In that regard, we at the Peabody Awards have been annually recognizing the best in broadcasting and cable each year and attempting in our very under funded way to preserve it.
Bill, am I okay for time here?
MR. MURPHY: About three more minutes.
MR. SHERMAN: Good. In the next three minutes I will tell you about the Peabody Awards. Peabody Awards were begun in 1938 by a committee of the National Association of Broadcasters, which was interested in founding a Pulitzer prize for radio.
In 1939, based on the Pulitzer model at Columbia University, the NAB approached the School of Journalism at the University of Georgia about sponsoring the radio Pulitzer.
By 1940, the NAB had withdrawn its support. The estate of George Foster Peabody was involved and I add parenthetically Mr. Peabody gave his visage to the most significant Ameritorius public service rendered each year by broadcasting, but unlike Pulitzer no money.
So each year the Peabody Awards exist and the Peabody archive exists year-to-year through the entry fees which are self perpetuating. There is no endowment.
There is no line item in the University of Georgia's budget for the ongoing administration of both the Peabody Awards and the Peabody Archive. That is something that we are addressing quite directly.
The Peabody Archive is essentially a happenstance of history. It consists of all of the entries submitted each year since 1940 and it exists in the University of Georgia library simply because the dean of the College of Journalism, John Eldridge Drewry, never threw anything away.
He was a visionary in the sense that he felt it might be important some day to keep all correspondence associated with this new radio award and as a consequence, even though they did not have equipment to play the materials, the 16mm kinescopes and two-inch videotapes, which began to make their way to us in the 1950's.
The Peabody Award Archive holds most entries in the radio category since 1940 and for television from 1948 to the present. We have an estimated 6,000 radio transcription disks, 8,600 quarter inch audio reels and about 5,000 audio cassettes.
We have about 2,500 16mm kinescopes and prints. About 1,500 two-inch video reels (both high band and low band) and more than 16,000 three-quarter inch video cassettes.
These are all original archival materials. When producers enter the Peabody Awards, we simply guarantee that we will preserve their entry. We do not assume any copyright interest in an entry and no duplication or distribution of Peabody Awards entries is ever made without prior approval of the producing organization.
I will sum up by saying what might be a good or positive outcome from these hearings and how might Peabody be involved.
First, I think it is essential that we in the production and educational archival communities make the case as successfully as the film industry has for the preservation of film and television and these hearings are the first important step in that direction.
The greats of television broadcasting, many of whom are still living, it is imperative as film preservation did with the giants of silent and early sound features that we get the Walter Cronkites and the David Brinkley's to speak about the impermanence of their original broadcasts and those of us who hold some landmark broadcasts can be essential I think in generating that message.
I think one thing we might do, though it is a daunting task, is to try to create the registry, the list of indispensable television broadcasts and follow along perhaps with the indispensable video and yes, based on this morning, the indispensable Web pages and the indispensable CD-ROM's.
It is an important job, but as a television historian, I believe with 50 years of hindsight we can point to significant broadcasts that changed the nature of this country and the world.
Third, I would like to come out of this hearing an interdisciplinary advisory board to make recommendations about the best content produced each year by broadcast and cable and the best means of preserving that.
With Peabody as I said at the beginning, we are the "Q" chip. We could take a leadership role in identifying the best work of networks, international broadcasters, local stations and production companies and I volunteer, even though none of us has the time, to serve on such a committee if formed.
Thank you, Bill.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Dr. Sherman.
Our next speaker is William Jarvis, vice-president and general counsel of WETA television. STATEMENT OF WILLIAM JARVIS, WETA-TV, VIDE-PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
MR. JARVIS: Thank you very much for inviting me here to testify today. I am sure that you have heard from all of us and you will continue to hear from all of us that we agree on several points.
First, we agree that there is a pressing need to systematically record and preserve our national treasures and resources in television and video.
Second, while each of us may have a prediction on the direction of future technology, none of us can foresee the exact road which will take us there.
Third, with the multitude of institutions and individuals involved in creating this resource, we have not and we will not accidentally arrive at a sensible archive system.
So I particularly thank you for investigating this pressing need. Part of your work today, I understand, is to identify the central issues and problems in the creation of a permanent record of our television and video media.
I bring to you the perspective of a station centrally involved in creating the content of interest to current and future citizens.
WETA is the third largest producer of programs for the public television system. We produce The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Washington Week in Review, David Frost's interviews with world leaders and politics and culture.
We have produced a variety of multi-part series on such issues as the FBI, health care, competitive challenges in our education system and we have completed extensive coverage of public and governmental affairs.
WETA also does its part to celebrate the cultural treasures of our nation. Many of you may have sat on the Capitol lawn during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts watching our crews crawl among the orchestra members, so you are aware that WETA produced those concerts live for the nation.
In addition, we have produced the stellar series In Performance at the White House and The Kennedy Center Presents.
Among WETA's most renowned documentary programs are those of Ken Burns, The Civil War, Baseball, his forthcoming series on The West and his forthcoming series focusing on the profile of great Americans.
To put it simply, we have a lot of tape. Even now as we are starting to produce digitally, we have amassed over 30 years of tape archives, including Congressional hearings as recent as Waco and starting with Watergate.
Fortunately, we have been able to archive our tapes from 1966 to 1978 with the University of Maryland. In addition, some of our materials are already with the National Archives. Others, such as the Watergate hearings, are already with the Library of Congress.
Since 1978, we have stored and maintained on our site all of our taped and filmed materials. We now store about 10,000 hours of programming and this is increasing at the rate of about 400 hours per year.
As our primary mission is to serve audiences by producing and broadcasting quality programs, we cannot and should not be using our limited resources substantially to function as a library.
On the other hand, we have created these programs because we feel they are important hallmarks of our nation and we do feel a responsibility to make access to this material to current producers, educational institutions and individual students.
So we do respond to dozens of requests each week for access to our holdings. Therefore, the central issues which we have found with respect to what you are investigating are these three. First, indexing and access to the materials. Second, the format of the materials. Third, the rights to the materials.
First, indexing and access. Before 1990, we had a trickle of requests for access to our materials primarily from other public affairs or public television producers or occasionally from a particularly enterprising or dedicated film student.
Since 1990, we have had a rising flood. We cannot really explain what the change has been. Our suspicion is that the wealth of information that is being shared now via the Internet or through other databases account for this growth.
Six years ago a call would come in to our offices with the following request. Hey, WETA, did you guys do one of those concerts at the Capitol? I am looking for footage of James Earl Jones doing some reading. Do you have any?
Now the call is more likely to be, WETA you produced the 1990 Memorial Day concert with Colleen Dewhurst reading a Viet Nam soldier's letter and I need minutes 23 through 28 with James Earl Jones performing Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait.
We have not been able to account for the change in the way that people now have such specificity, but we do know that lacking a central resource service, a researcher who is looking for something in particular is more likely to spend days and days chasing leads, hearing from us, well we might not have done it, it might be WGBH or hearing from WGBH it might be WETA. Of course we then spend many hours researching and redirecting those calls.
So need number one is a central cataloguing system. While accounting for past tape and past programs is a daunting proposition, clearly we can and must start a shared catalogue of what we are producing today.
Second, to the messy issue of format. Our tape from 1966 to 1978 was primarily quad two-inch tape. I am told it is very heavy. Ninety minutes of programming weighing 27 pounds. They do not normally let the general counsel involved in any of that stuff.
From 1978 through 1996 it has been primarily one-inch tape, although we also have some Beta and three-quarters inch for promotional reels, source footing and field stock.
Converting that archive to digital or even to fresh tape is expensive in materials and time. When we are providing tape for researchers and producers now the video must be duplicated in real time, meaning for example that those 10,000 hours of tape currently in our archives would take 10,000 hours to store on fresh tape with current equipment.
The technology to convert cheaply is also probably not going to be anybody's top priority, since such a project by its very nature is self limiting, but that is an area of technological development which would greatly aid preservation.
Each of us might prioritize what should be converted, but then you would probably have ten stations individually converting the President's state of the union address and no one converting performance programming as a first priority.
As you consider the technical recommendations for current archives and for conversion, the judicial use of resources in making those conversions will benefit us all.
A second need therefore is for suggested archival guidelines, format recommendations and organized communication among producing and archival institutions about who is converting what.
Finally, the rights. I am an attorney so I find this area of most interest. As your initial queries suggested, there is indeed a murky world of copyrights and ancillary rights associated with every piece of tape that we have ever produced. Of course with every cultural and technological advance, the issues become more complicated.
All of us associated with public television production 15 years ago may have cleared the rights for educational use, but as we have talked about already today, suppose a student using the footage wants to put the thesis on the Internet?
Cable distribution, Internet distribution, video sales and even CD-ROM's were unanticipated by our predecessors and it is almost impossible for us today to be able to predict what forms of media are going to exist in the future.
An institution charged with bringing the American public the highest quality of programming, WETA's first priority is to produce and broadcast programming.
The question is, should we be spending the limited resources entrusted to us to clear the broadest possible rights so that those in the future could use them?
Again, suggested standard rights information archived simultaneously with the listings in the central catalogue system would at least be a reasonable starting point.
At WETA we keep what we call a pedigree file on the materials that we produce so that at least any of my successors will be able to find the details of the agreements which have been made today for those particular programs.
Researching past footage can be much tougher, but some general guidelines for the technological advances in education resources would be another good step.
Finally, my caveats with respect to these suggested guidelines. We may work hard but make some of the wrong choices today and we may do the equivalent of choosing to store on laser disc or create a convoluted archive process so arduous that creators would forego cataloguing their works rather than precipitate the paper work.
After all, I can tell you from working with all of the talented producers that WETA attracts that these people are artists first and administrators second.
The task of archiving are far from their minds when the film is in final edit. The responsibility for archiving must rest clearly with a specific participant in this collaborative process. Either the producer or the distributor or the presenter.
We must establish a set of guidelines for formats and rights and an established way of communicating our holdings and accessibility, which is clear, simple and flexible to accommodate these artists and our changing media environment.
Every day WETA and public broadcasting stations throughout the country are creating and broadcasting programs of quality to share with the public. I encourage your efforts to coordinate the ways in which we can continue that service long beyond the initial broadcast.
My colleagues and I will gladly offer to continue to be of assistance.
Thank you very much.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Our next speaker is Mr. David Liroff, vice-president and chief technology officer for WGBH. STATEMENT OF DAVID LIROFF, WGBH-TV, VICE-PRESIDENT AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
MR. LIROFF: I agree with Barry and Bill. I do not envy your assignment sitting here listening to us all day and there is the risk that the few new ideas in the mix will get lost and washed over.
So I am going to assume that you know who WGBH is. We produce about a third of the prime time schedule for PBS: Masterpiece Theater, NOVA, This Old House, Julia Child, Frontline, American Experience.
What is less well known about us is that about ten years ago we began to evolve away from being principally in the broadcast business and got into the business of using telecommunications technology for education--using CD-ROM's, online computer services, interactive video disks and the like.
I want to cut to the chase, because I am concerned that we are speeding off into the future at 90 miles an hour with our eyes firmly fixed on the rear view mirror, and there is an opportunity here that we need to identify quite specifically.
The new digital electronic media technologies allow us the opportunity to develop a comprehensive and integrated and holistic approach, not only to the preservation of the television and video media themselves, but also with all of the records that are associated with these materials.
I raise the issue now not to overwhelm us, because it does seem to be overwhelming, but to identify an opportunity which might otherwise pass us by.
Much of the focus of all of these conversations here and in New York, where my colleague Judy Crichton of The American Experience spoke to the panel, have focused again on the television and video materials themselves.
But I would strongly recommend that one of the outcomes of this process should be to look at the related production files, contracts, releases, field production notes, director's and editor's notes, production stills, captioning and descriptive video data. I will get back to that in a moment.
Promotion and publicity, derivatives of the multimedia products and computer online services. We have laughed several times about the Internet and trying to get a handle around that.
David Fanning, who is the executive producer of Frontline, now refers to the broadcast television program as the executive summary of the materials that have been gathered in the course of production.
If you access the Frontline home page on the Web, you find there enormous volumes of material which they did not have time to include in the program. A full length transcript of interviews, only two minutes of which might have appeared in the program.
RealAudio feeds--as you know you can access audio on the Internet--containing the full audio recordings which were only excerpted for the broadcast program.
Original documents that the producers used in preparing their analyses. This becomes very much a part of the record these days.
The good news is that much of this material is in digital form already. Nick Negroponte at the Media Lab at MIT talks about atoms and bits, and we think of these things as the physical artifacts. Where to store them. Where to move them. Where to keep them.
In fact, when they enter the digital form, they become far more accessible, so that the challenge of keeping the Frontline home page material that is related to a broadcast program is hardly as formidable now, because it is in digital form, as it might have been two or three years ago.
Now I want to say a word about captioning. This is, I will say immodestly, one of those nuggets that I would like to call your attention to.
WGBH started captioning back in 1972 to help people who were deaf or hearing impaired be able to appreciate programs to which they would not otherwise have access. In 1990 we started descriptive video, which is television for the blind, which sounds like an oxymoron, but is growing in its use around the country.
As I was listening this morning to the problems that people are having just with cataloguing and indexing video materials, right now there are literally tens of thousands of hours per year of television programs that are fully captioned and an increasing number that are described as well.
The captioning data provides a near verbatim content guide to what is on those tapes. The captioning center at WGBH captions the CBS evening news and there is a data string that goes with that broadcast that has a virtually verbatim transcript of that program.
Now the reason why at the moment this is--if you will again pardon my immodesty--a bigger idea than it might otherwise be is that the FCC announced about a month and a half ago-- Chairman Reed Hunt--that they are about to initiate a notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to the extent to which producers should be required to caption their programs for television and/or cable, and another rulemaking that will explore the issue of providing descriptions for those who are blind or visually impaired.
Frankly it had not occurred to me until this morning that the Library of Congress and every archivist has a vested interest not only in seeing that these audiences have access to these materials, but in having the producers required to caption these programs, because that gives you a content handle on the material.
The incremental cost of captioning compared to the production cost is quite small and WGBH does it. The National Captioning Institute in Washington does it.
There are now, I understand, some three dozen or more for-profit captioning companies around the country, because when the FCC required that all sets of 13 inches or more be required to have captioning decoders back in 1991, that created the demand for this industry to develop.
So the cataloguing and indexing could be done by the producers. We keep looking for where the money is going to come from.
It could be required, and would have not only the benefit of providing access to hearing impaired viewers and perhaps to visually impaired as well, but also giving us a handle on the material which is embedded in the material itself.
Now the idea of being able to engage in this kind of one stop shopping, that is you access the video materials and in the same database or related databases are all of the related materials.
It may sound like a pipe dream and applying it retroactively it probably is, but what are we going to do going forward? The technologies that we are using now, particularly in the digital realm, make it a lot easier to think of the kinds of hot links, as they are called on the World Wide Web, where you pull up the visual image here, you link to the contracts, the scripts, the releases, the other print materials that go along with it.
Now there are relatively few computer systems on the market these days that begin to address these problems, and we are working with some software and hardware developers to try and get a handle on this so we can put our arms around the whole question.
But it would be extraordinarily helpful to have some guidance, some standards, some performance measures of what these systems might be able to do. Some standardized glossaries so that different organizations who are pursuing this idea can talk with each other and share their information with each other.
Even an indication of best practices from the Library of Congress would be extraordinarily helpful as we and others--I have spoken with several people here who are working on the same kinds of problems--develop a way to address these problems.
One of the elements of this idea is that an organization's archives becomes the first stop when material comes in from the field, not the last stop. It comes into the archives in digital form and it never physically leaves the archives.
Those who want to use it access it from digital servers. Again this is not pipe dream stuff. This is quite possible to do today. So that you have in one place a repository not only of the media materials themselves, but ideally the related documents that go with them.
We have the opportunity to do that now going forward. Again, I do not suggest that this is necessarily a way to address the problems of the vast holdings that many of us have, but the question is, what are we going to do tomorrow?
I do not know who said this. It is attributed to Casey Stengel, the line that the future is going to be just like the past, but only longer. What we know for sure is that is not true. When we say okay, how are we going to deal with these issues tomorrow, this is one of the areas I would very much encourage you to explore.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Liroff.
Our next speaker is Mr. Glenn Clatworthy from the PBS. He is the Associate Director of Program Data and Analysis. STATEMENT OF GLENN CLATWORTHY, PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PROGRAM DATA AND ANALYSIS
MR. CLATWORTHY: Well, having the misfortune to follow Mr. Liroff in sequence, I will now launch into my dry, flat, canned presentation so please bear with me.
Let me start out today with a brief description of PBS. PBS is a private, non-profit corporation whose members are America's public television stations. Founded in 1969, PBS provides quality television programming and related services to 345 non-commercial stations serving all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
PBS is a national distributor of public television programs. However, we do not produce the programs we distribute. Instead, PBS accepts programs offered for national distribution by a presenting entity, typically a public television station like WETA or WGBH, which may be representing its own productions or productions acquired from american independent producers and other sources.
PBS does not own the copyright to the programs it distributes. Rather we acquire the broadcast rights to a program for a limited number of airings over a limited period of time. When this period comes to an end, a program is said to have expired.
Over its 26-year history, PBS has accumulate an archive of over 100,000 programs on commercial quality videotape and 16mm film.
Our broadcast rights to the bulk of the programs in this collection, including most programs distributed by PBS and our predecessor, National Educational Television, have expired.
The PBS archival collection consists of two major sub-collections, including PBS programs and series as well as programs from the National Educational Television era.
NET was the public television organization that preceded PBS, distributing programs by mail and/or national interconnection from the late 1950's until approximately 1970.
Acquired by PBS in the late 1970's, the NET collection consisted of over 9,000 videotapes and films. Slightly over half of the collection was on 16mm film. The remainder was on two-inch videotape.
The PBS collection contains copies of virtually every PBS program broadcast since the network went on the air in 1970. It consists of over 100,000 reels in various formats, including one-inch, two-inch, D-2 and D-3 videotape.
At least 7,000 reels from this set belong to our current collection, that is, programs to which PBS has current broadcast or distribution rights.
PBS' current technical operating specifications require that program presenters submit a broadcast quality master and backup of every program accepted for broadcast on PBS. While our policy for archival retention has varied over time, PBS has retained at least a master copy of virtually every program we have distributed over the past 26 years.
PBS' current policy is to retain a digital D-3 master and backup copy of every program with the expectation that we will donate the master to the Library of Congress after the expiration of rights.
Videotape and film masters for both the PBS and the NET eras are maintained in a secure, climate controlled facility in Springfield, Virginia. Unfortunately, no single centralized inventory or descriptive database system is available for the entire archival collection.
In fact, the NET and PBS collections are tracked using two separate computerized inventory systems. A third system, which I manage, called the PBS Program Databasem contains comprehensive information about PBS programs broadcast since 1987.
Descriptive information for National Educational Television programs and PBS programs broadcast prior to 1987 is maintained in paper files, various computer files, microfiche and in various shoe boxes around the company.
No descriptive electronic or paper materials are available for public research at PBS or via computer networks yet.
PBS has chosen to support archival preservation and scholarly research through ongoing agreements with the Library of Congress and the National Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland. All requests for scholarly access to PBS materials are routed to these two institutions.
In 1990, PBS agreed to contribute papers and other historical materials to the new National Public Broadcasting Archives. To date, several hundred boxes of archival paper materials and three-quarter inch viewing cassettes have been transferred to the NPBA.
On September 15, 1993, PBS signed an agreement, an instrument of gift whereby it would donate its collection of expired public television programs to the Library of Congress.
In the first phase of our support for the agreement, my department, Program Data and Analysis, evaluated the entire NET collection to determine the best copy of every distinct program.
As a result, PBS offered almost 8,000 pieces of archival film and videotape to the Library. The LOC accepted our archival offering and transferred the materials to its own facility in September, 1994.
Currently, neither PBS nor the Library of Congress is in the position to exchange the full archive of expired PBS programs. Because of other recent demands, the PBS tape library has not had the resources to do a full inventory of the PBS collection.
At the same time, the Library of Congress has expressed that it does not have the storage space for the entire PBS collection nor does it expect to in the near future.
As a result, Program Data is evaluating the PBS collection for valuable, at-risk sub-collections in the hope that the Library can expand its storage space gradually to accommodate more material.
Our urgent focus is on two-inch videotape. The two-inch tapes stored in our warehouse are up to 35 years old. The integrity of these materials clearly is at risk.
Moreover, since most public television stations and independent tape facilities no longer support two-inch transfers, our ability to provide any form of access to materials on two-inch tape also is at risk.
Our most recent project was to identify programs for which a single two-inch copy exists. In July, 1995, I made a supplementary offer of almost 8,000 two-inch videotapes to the Library. I am pleased to say that we received notice last Friday that the Library expects to be able to acquire this new sub-collection within the next two months.
Now I would like to address some of the practical challenges to the mission of archival preservation. TV is a just-in-time medium. Distributors tend to focus on the TV present and near future and often do not have the interest or the resources to protect and document the television programs of the past.
Many priceless local television productions, for example, have been lost to the dumpster or to the ether, because the producing stations did not have the resources to maintain archives. For the past 26 years, PBS has functioned as a safe harbor for producers of national public television programs by maintaining its extensive archival collection. Unfortunately, our own facility is only so wide and so deep.
The good news is that our ongoing agreement with the Library provides us with a mechanism for preserving historical public television programs. However, PBS has to balance three important sets of needs.
As a membership organization, we provide services to our member stations. We define services to include reasonable access by stations to the programs and series they provided to the system.
As a corporation, PBS has made a multi-million dollar investment in programming. Although our distribution rights to a program may have expired, we must be certain that we will have reasonable access to a broadcast master in case we contract to redistribute it in the foreseeable future.
Finally, we are aware of the public need as evidenced by the continuing enthusiasm for public television and by the ongoing preservation efforts of such institutions as the Library of Congress.
Today I would like to make the following recommendations on the subject of archival preservation. To fulfill its mandate to preserve a permanent record of the United States television history, the Library must continue to pursue the resources to acquire, preserve and document historic television programs.
In particular, we hope that the library will be in a position to accept continuing donations from PBS with special emphasis on the aging two-inch collection of videotapes.
In the longer term, the Library and PBS, as well as the Library and other institutions, should form a combined strategy for evaluating, inventorying, transferring and preserving historical materials.
This strategy may involve the Library offering assistance in re-inventorying large collections. The Library also must be prepared to document and preserve acquired materials quickly, replacing deteriorating masters and adding descriptive catalogue entries to the public record as soon as possible.
Finally, the Library should be prepared to make viewing copies of archived tapes and films available for scholarly research in a timely manner.
Our MIS department at PBS has a descriptive phrase that I believe also applies to archival preservation. It is called single point of failure. Any unique copy of a historical television program, whether it is on videotape, video disk or hard drive, is a single point of failure for a bit of history.
The storage medium can either present a viewable image of a program or it cannot, in which case a bit of history has been lost forever.
Ultimately, the best model for long-term archival preservation is ubiquity, the widespread distribution of television programs via both current and future media.
I believe that the ubiquity model for archival preservation dovetails nicely with the tremendous public and commercial interest in television history. The public is fascinated by older television programs. Meanwhile TV networks, distributors and production companies are hungry to acquire, process and deliver programming.
Therefore, it is in our best interest to find a common path that provides for archival preservation, yet opens the door to the ubiquitous distribution of historic programs. To this end, the Library should work with donating institutions to ensure reasonable access to archived materials.
Further, we recommend that the Library be open to new initiatives and partnerships with both public and private sectors to restore historic television programs and to make them widely available to the American people.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Clatworthy.
Our final speaker for this panel is Mr. Edward Coltman, Executive Director of New Media for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. STATEMENT OF EDWARD COLTMAN, CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW MEDIA
MR. COLTMAN: Thank you for the invitation to describe the activities that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with respect to television and video preservation.
CPB, as you probably know, is the organization that was established by the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967 to develop high quality public telecommunications services throughout the country.
CPB is prohibited by law from producing programs and from owning or operating distribution systems such as broadcasting stations.
Therefore, the corporation fulfills its responsibilities for developing high quality program services chiefly by making grants to and contracts with program makers and distributors, particularly public broadcasting stations, among them the stations represented today by Bill Jarvis and David Liroff.
In addition to the television program fund, which is our principal grant making organization at CPB, there are two distinct ventures in which CPB collaborates with the Annenberg Foundation to develop education related materials.
These are known as the Annenberg/CPB projects and they operate in somewhat different circumstances from those of the television program fund.
Like the program fund, the Annenberg projects make grants to and contracts with program producers who generally hold copyright to the programs, but the Annenberg projects typically own all distribution rights for the products in which they have provided production funding.
In general, I think it is worth remembering that for nearly 30 years the programs of public television have had an undisputed place in the core of America's cultural treasure.
CPB therefore has a very strong interest in the physical preservation of that legacy for scholarly and artistic uses.
The Public Broadcasting Act in fact authorizes CPB to establish and maintain or contribute to a library and archives of non-commercial educational and cultural radio and television programs.
As CPB is primarily a grant making organization, original production materials or high quality master tapes rarely come into CPB's custody.
Therefore, our strong interest in preservation is largely effected through other parties, principally through the program makers from whom you have heard.
In addition though, for at least the last decade, CPB has provided modest funding to the Museum of Television and Radio in New York to support its archival and preservation activities.
During the last few years with CPB's funding, the Museum has typically acquired about 30 hours of public television programming per year and has catalogued, maintained and preserved an additional 60 hours per year from earlier acquisitions they had made.
CPB also periodically donates to the National Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland the television and video materials that we acquire when we make production grants to program makers.
Typically a producer is required upon completion of the program to deliver to CPB a reference copy of viewing quality.
CPB has already donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives most of its television and video materials for the years 1969 through 1987.
Currently we have on hand videotape copies of approximately 2,800 television and video programs, completed or first broadcast on public television since 1987.
Additionally, the Annenberg/CPB projects have similar copies of about 1,700 television and video programs completed since 1983, all of which are still in video cassette distribution. Master tapes for these Annenberg programs are in the custody of the Annenberg projects' distribution contractor.
The collections of both CPB's television program fund and the Annenberg/CPB projects will probably be growing more slowly in the future than they have in recent years as fewer new programs receive production funding from CPB as the funding of CPB itself declines.
CPB does not undertake any special physical preservation activities with respect to our own collections of video and television materials nor are we aware of any significant losses from those materials.
The materials in our collections are not typically made available to researchers or outside parties until they have been donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, at which time we place in the donation no restrictions whatsoever on making those materials available to researchers or other parties.
From the standpoint of a grant making organization, we have no particular recommendations to offer you today with respect to legal incentives that might encourage preservation.
But in general we do think that economic incentives have a powerful effect, so that copyright holders will undertake the preservation, if they stand to realize a financial gain from the preservation of that material which they could not otherwise obtain were it not preserved.
We are not experts in the nature and cost of physical preservation activities and so I will not offer you any advice or information on that score, but I would like to note that a considerable part of any broadcaster's air time represents material for which there is relatively little or no reasonable expectation of subsequent viewer interest, or of reuse in the normal activities of broadcasting.
Therefore, there is very little prospect that the copyright holder to that material is likely to undertake that preservation.
I am talking here about interstitial material, promotional material, commemorative material, all the kinds of things that fill in the overall context of television and which can be extraordinarily important to preserve for scholarly purposes with relation to media studies.
In a sense, our view is that these are the materials for which it is likely that the permanent record of American television is most likely to depend on scholarly institutions rather than on the owners of copyright in the materials themselves. I would like to thank you again for the invitation. I would be happy to answer any questions.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Questions? Comments? David?
MR. FRANCIS: I think this has been a most valuable panel, certainly for me, because it has helped to explain the rather complicated nature of public television.
Obviously one of the things that the Library is worried about, because it cannot undertake the entire preservation of public television on its own, is duplication of effort.
It is clear that there is program material both at PBS, at the affiliates, and possibly elsewhere. I am just wondering if in CPB's grant giving capacity it could assist with what several people have indicated is particularly important, namely the preparation of an index of holdings in these different locations. Then, any decision on preservation or the making of access copies could be based on accurate information. I would hate to think that we are duplicating the preservation of even one tape.
I do not know whether this is a feasible idea, but it would be a most valuable service. If we could get information, it would help us make intelligent decisions. We all want to ensure that the programs are preserved and made accessible to scholars.
MR. COLTMAN: I feel certain that we would be very happy to talk further with you about how we could make this happen.
MR. MURPHY: Mr. Clatworthy, you said there were 345 stations in the PBS system. I wonder if you have a means of communications with those stations to convey information about preservation and storage requirements for videotape.
In the last few years, a lot of information has become available and we do not know that people from the PBS stations are participating in the archives movement. Some are, many are not.
How can we communicate with them to give them this new information that is available?
MR. CLATWORTHY: Well, we have an electronic communications system that just went into place last year and so we do have the mechanism for distributing whatever archival information we think is important. It is literally a matter of pressing a button and it can be out there.
MR. MURPHY: Have you sounded the alarm about two-inch tape, not so much the tape itself, but the problem of equipment obsolescence and the growing difficulty of being able to find on the one hand equipment and on the other the people with the requisite skills to be able to transfer two-inch tape.
MR. CLATWORTHY: Sounded the alarm, no, I cannot say that we have done that. I think all of us who are in the producing or distribution game though have been generally aware of what is happening to the system.
We have certainly been in touch with WETA, and I believe that WGBH continues to have two-inch transfer capability.
The owners of large collections have been in communication with each other as a rule, but no, I would not say that the information has been transmitted to every station. I am not sure what most stations are doing with their local two-inch collections, if they still have them.
MR. BURKE: About what percentage of the station's output over the air is local that is not distributed to others? I mean WETA produces so many and WGBH produces so many.
MR. COLTMAN: On average of the total air time of stations, about seven percent of the total air time is locally produced.
MR. BURKE: Is that mostly news? MR. COLTMAN: It is rarely news. In fact, most of the news programs produced by local stations have gone out of production in recent years. There have been a few recent start ups, but it is mostly a public affairs discussion program sort of thing.
MR. BURKE: I assume then since that is not of general interest to everybody that not much is being done with that material.
MR. LIROFF: From an archival respect?
MR. BURKE: Yes.
MR. LIROFF: That is a safe assumption, yes. My guess is and Bill would have to speak on behalf of WETA, at WGBH we do not distinguish between national and local in terms of our archival responsibilities, but that is driven largely because of the volume of nationally distributed programming we have produced over the years.
My guess is that smaller local stations, where the need to over record on videotape because they did not have enough money to save it or a place to store it that much of that material is being lost.
MR. JARVIS: I think that is accurate that much of what we do we do not distinguish between what is national and what is local.
Maybe we have the idea that everything we do has national implications, but I think that primarily that would be an issue for stations that do not produce the volume of materials that a WGBH or WETA or maybe even WNET end up producing.
MR. CLATWORTHY: Fortunately, we do track anything that goes out over our satellite interconnection. So anything that is put on the satellite by any station at any point is going to be stored in our traffic database.
However, there is no national registry for information about local public television programs. So it is kind of a silent problem. We only know that they are gone when someone looks for them and they simply are not there anymore.
MR. BURKE: One other question does Corporation for Public Broadcasting receive its funding only from the government?
MR. COLTMAN: About 98 percent of it.
MR. BURKE: But Ford or Mellon?
MR. COLTMAN: Yes, there are occasional philanthropic foundation grants.
MR. BURKE: Okay. Thank you.
MS. RINGER: I have been terribly concerned about the future of public broadcasting. Maybe I should ask this question of the next panel and maybe I will, but what do you see as the effect of the new Communications Act on public broadcasting and the political posture that we seem to find ourselves in?
What I am really saying is, are you all going to go away in another 20 years or are you going to still be around?
MR. LIROFF: Well, the short answer is that if the commercial media figure out a way to address the educational and cultural needs of the society, then we ought to celebrate and turn off the lights and go home. Forgive me my skepticism that that is likely to occur.
MS. RINGER: I have a dish in the country and you had a whole lot of channels there for awhile. Now I have trouble getting one, but I can get all the A&E and the Bravo and this and that that I want and I watch a lot more of them than I do of public broadcasting anymore. This is just a personal observation.
MR. LIROFF: As of March 1, PBS has a feed on direct TV, the direct satellite.
MS. RINGER: Yes, but I have the big dish.
MR. LIROFF: Well, if you have the big C band dish, there is also a 24-hour--
MS. RINGER: Yes, but it does the same thing over and over again. I cannot get NETV in Nebraska because it is not a good signal.
MR. LIROFF: To your question about the Telecommunications Act and funding for public broadcasting, they are really two largely separate issues.
That is the deregulation of the industry and this massive rewrite of the regulation will have relatively little direct effect on the funding for public broadcasting, which is just these days being debated in Congress.
Congressman Jack Field's committee in the House, Larry Pressler's committee in the Senate are considering funding for public broadcasting.
One of the proposals that has been put forward is the creation of a trust fund of sufficient size so that the interest produced by that trust fund would allow public broadcasting not to have to go back to the government for annual appropriations.
That is being debated literally these weeks. Without being sure of the outcome, we believe that we have dodged the zero-them-out bullet, but it is likely that we are going to take our lumps in whatever decisions are going to be made.
MS. RINGER: Also, this is just one year, and of course this could keep coming up over and over again. What I see is enormous concentrations of power in communications as a result of that Act that I think is like to freeze you all out in the long run. I sincerely hope I am wrong.
MR. LIROFF: Again, I am confident that the need for the kinds of services we provide will continue, whether the funding to support that will be there is the question.
MR. MURPHY: Barry, you mentioned the possibility of a national registry for television materials. Has Peabody ever issued an award for television preservation and if not, do you think that that might be a good idea to develop public awareness of the value of preserving television materials?
MR. SHERMAN: I think that is an excellent idea. Ironically enough, we did get the AMC film preservation effort entered. It did not win last year.
I think Peabody is an appropriate venue if not the appropriate venue and I have often said that we can, in concert with the library, be the knight in shining armor.
We have all heard as recently as this morning John Lynch's continuing problems and other individual archives continuing problems dealing with the networks and what they rightly see as something they have copyright interest in and after market, if you will.
In the new technologies we were discussing at lunch, that probably for the first time there is an appreciation for the archive in a television station or network, because it is an asset.
Ted Turner proved to everyone that the value of your company is based on what is on the shelf and a lot of these stations regardless of the condition, the fact that they have some archive on the shelf creates an asset value for them.
Getting back to your question, I think such a panel, such a committee as was established for film preservation could unite each of the major production entities, the Peabody and other agents of recognition.
I think of the Emmy NATAS as well and even perhaps some of the major market or regional Emmy operations, because together we could all identify both national and local programs of significant value and say, regardless of who owns that, let's attempt to preserve it and maintain it.
I think it would give the publicity hook that frankly film preservation has enjoyed for about a decade now. I think the typical viewer thinks: "Gee, every show must exist because it is TV and it is on VHS."
I think nothing could be further from the truth, as we all know, but the lack of public awareness, indeed the boomerang effect, the public perception that indeed television is being preserved and being preserved in a user friendly fashion.
I think we really have to attack that and address that, while frankly many of these superstar anchors are still with us. We have a lot of persuasive ability with those target groups.
I can see Oprah doing a series of spots. Nevertheless, I think Peabody is one agency and that as I was listening, thinking through our list, if we were trying to put together that first list, we could start with the winners list.
That would be both national and local and indeed some international programs, though I think our mandate here is clearly American television video heritage.
MR. MURPHY: Well, panelists thank you very much. We will now take a 15-minute break.
[Whereupon, a short recess was taken.]
MR. MURPHY: Welcome back. We are going to continue with our next panel of broadcasters and production organizations. The first speaker will be Elizabeth Sullivan, Library Manager, CNN, the Washington Bureau. STATEMENT OF KATHY CHRISTENSEN, PRESENTED BY ELIZABETH SULLIVAN, CNN, LIBRARY MANAGER, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU
MS. SULLIVAN: Thank you and hello. I am here to deliver the prepared remarks of Kathy Christensen, who is CNN's vice-president for news, archives and research. Kathy is home with the flu exacerbated by a frog in her throat.
In producing 24-hour news programming, CNN gathers a large amount of video from around the world on a daily basis. This material consists of video shot by CNN camera crews and items acquired from other television stations and news agencies.
The role of the archive is to support the production needs of CNN's cable networks, CNN, Headline News, CNN International and CNNfn, as well as other endeavors such as CNN Interactive, the Airport Channel and CNN NewSource.
The archive contains new video from 1980 to the present and in terms of format the collection consists of one-inch reels, three-quarter inch cassettes, Betacam and Beta SP cassettes, with the largest percentage being on Beta tape.
The format of archive material is determined by the production format of the network. Deadlines can be very short, given the live 24-hour nature of CNN and archive video must be capable of immediate playback for editing purposes.
Given that edit facilities at CNN are equipped with analog Beta machines, the predominant format of the archive is Beta SP tape.
The physical environment for the CNN collection is adequate, though not ideal. The temperature, relative humidity and fire protection are that of an air conditioned office setting.
The CNN archive is relatively young and we are now beginning to address preservation issues. We have not yet devoted significant resources to a formal preservation project though some of the early one-inch reels have been transferred to Beta SP tape.
The main archive collection is housed at the network's headquarters in Atlanta and for the most part represents material that is fed into Atlanta.
We also have a number of branch libraries in various CNN bureaus and these collections are made up of the field tapes shot by the bureau camera crews.
The libraries in the larger bureaus catalogue their material in the central library computer system. The Atlanta library has duplicate copies of only a very few items and the tapes in our bureau collection function as backup for a significant amount of our news coverage.
The library is responsible for determining what will be archived and what will not be kept. With round-the-clock programming, we do not keep a copy of every hour of CNN air.
CNN consists of two types of material. Anchored news programs and feature shows such as Larry King Live, Crossfire and Inside Politics. We do archive the feature shows in a program collection.
For the news shows, however, what we archive is not the program itself, but the video from the news that is covered on the program.
We keep all edited stories by CNN reporters, selected stories from our affiliates and the raw video associated with news stories and events, material that lacks a narrative audio track and may be anywhere from a couple minutes to several hours in duration.
There are exceptions to this policy and that comes for live coverage of major stories. We have, for example, CNN's program coverage of the dismantling of the Berlin wall, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Soviet coup, the LA riots and of course we have each hour of programming for the six weeks of the Gulf War.
CNN video is catalogued in a computerized database which contains approximately 600,000 records. The majority of the records include both bibliographic data and video descriptions.
Bibliographic data consists of the title, date, length, reporter name, type, such as package, program, raw, et cetera, geographic locations and basic key words such as personal and corporate names and subject terms.
The video descriptions are detailed logs that tell you exactly what is seen. The remaining records consist of bibliographic data only.
Up until recently, no one outside of the company has had direct access to information about materials in the archive, with research being provided by library staff to clients interested in licensing video for rebroadcast or in-house production use and to viewers who want a copy of a program or story for viewing purposes.
We have now placed approximately 30,000 database records on a Website that is geared primarily to those individuals interested in video for production use. We are considering placement of the entire database on the Web to allow access for other purposes, such as research by scholars and historians.
As a professional librarian, my particular interests and expertise fall into the area of cataloguing and access. The effort that we devote to physical preservation of video will have no real meaning without adequate cataloguing.
Intellectual control is essential. If you do not catalogue a collection well, you simply have a roomful or a warehouse full of tapes. It is a dead thing. A morgue.
One of the most daunting aspects of a national preservation program is the shear volume of television material that exists and each month and year it grows even larger.
CNN recently began a project to place a copy of its Gulf War programming with the Library of Congress. Six weeks of 24-hour coverage. It took us three months to dub exactly one week's worth.
I would like to see the Library of Congress establish a facility that would allow for off-air taping of television programs. This would obviously be a large undertaking, but it would centralize the process and eliminate all the resources now devoted to acquiring material from the networks.
What the networks could provide would be the cataloguing of the material in digitized form. This is perhaps a pipe dream on my part, according to Kathy, but I would like to at least put it on the table as we discuss preserving and providing access to television programs.
The archives of the news networks represent a distinct component of the country's television and video heritage. While entertainment programming provides an interpretative view of our culture, news video is a historical record of social, economic and political issues and events both domestic and international.
The primary mission of a network news archive is to support the production needs of the network. Because preservation and cataloguing are important factors toward meeting that aim, I believe we have a framework for coordinating the efforts of news archives and those of a national preservation program.
I would like to contribute to establishing such a program and I look forward to any assistance that the Library of Congress is able to provide. Thank you. MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Let's turn to our next speaker, Mr. Peter Gardiner, Vice-President, Corporate Film/Video Services of Warner Bros. STATEMENT OF PETER GARDINER, WARNER BROS., VICE-PRESIDENT, CORPORATE FILM/VIDEO SERVICES
MR. GARDINER: Good afternoon. Thank you for accommodating our schedule so that I could speak to you today for Warner Bros. instead of at the Los Angeles hearings. I appreciate it.
I would also like to add to Mr. Liroff's comments about papers. Warner has two archives, the film archive building which houses the elements and does the cataloguing, but also a corporate archive, which is administered by Lee Adams and we have made many donations to UCLA, USC and continue to keep some of this material with us on the lot.
In doing The Wild Bunch restoration and in doing the Giant restoration the existence of all of this old paper work and all of these old paper materials proved invaluable, especially in The Wild Bunch restoration because there were a lot of opinions regarding what was and what was not Mr. Peckinpah's cut.
It was amazing how many people, as I just said to Mr. Liroff, wanted the movie to be the way they wanted it, rather than the way Mr. Peckinpah wanted it. The paper work that we had was in fact the one that proved which version was correct. So it was a very valuable remark and I have already made use of the retention of that paper work.
The preservation and protection of television elements is varied and complicated due to the large amount of material and the multiple forms of media that can be used to produce, finish and deliver programming for TV.
The issues relating to public access and specific budgets will not be addressed here as they are Time-Warner and Warner Bros. Corporate matters. However, the following is what Warner Bros. is currently doing to protect and preserve our various television elements.
The old shows that were originated in black-and-white film or the Warner classics as they are called, these are protected by black-and-white fine grain masters, most of which are composite and some of these contain the actual original commercials as aired.
We have the original negatives as well and in many cases magnetic masters and/or separate sound track negatives.
Many of these classic Warner Bros. shows from the 1950's, such as 77 Sunset Strip and Maverick have also been mastered to D-1 digital videotape.
The older shows originating on color film have been affected by the explosive growth of the international television market and this has caused an extensive remastering program to be undertaken.
New interpositive elements are being created from the original negatives to meet the technical specifications of the program and therefore because historically television materials were not protected because of budget constraints, these new interpositives will now be added to the archive library.
This affects series as well as movies of the week and in some classes perennial classics such as Roots are also protected by silver separation Y.C.M.'s.
Old shows originating on videotape have been subjected to rerecording. The two-inch library has been pretty much completely done and the older one-inch we are currently looking at.
They have been rerecorded to D-1 or DCT and any video original material in the library is part of an ongoing process of evaluation and re-recording as necessary.
Any magnetic sound restoration or preservation for the film material in the above categories takes place at the Warner Hollywood Sound Archives Facility, which was built for the overall archives and preservation program and does both feature and television work.
New production has a comprehensive standard that must be adhered to. The standard was written with the understanding that it covers not only current production delivery but future asset management and archive issues as well.
This includes the use of 35mm negative which must be cut regardless of whether the show as finished on video or not.
Guidelines that relate to the use of 3-perf and 16mm, both of which must also be cut, as well as shows that original on video also have specific standards for both video and audio production and delivery.
A few quotes from this format policy to illustrate the protection hopefully for the future. Item A is a 35mm, 4-perf negative composed in the camera 1.33, but protected for 1.78 in accordance with attachment A.
Whether or not the show is finished on videotape, a fully cut negative including AB cut negative for simple opticals and final cut composite negative for all others must be delivered on a prompt basis to assure timely delivery of PAL transfers.
Further down in the standard, whether three or 4-perf is used, careful composition in the camera must ensure that such things as electronic repositioning are utilized only when absolutely necessary.
When electronic fixes are needed, complete justification as well as documentation for the work performed must be provided. This is essential for the proper creation of current PAL masters as well as the recreation of the program for future format masters, which as well all know could be practically anything these days.
The use of super 16 as a third alternative is only acceptable with the express prior approval of Warner Bros. Corporate management and the cut super 16 negative must be delivered as in 35mm production.
So we are trying very hard to continue to create archival material wherever possible so that we hopefully can anticipate future format changes, et cetera.
In the interest of time, you will have a current copy of the standard for your reference.
A related issue is that of video only finish, even though the original is photographed on film. The production standard was created partially to ensure that the original negative is cut under almost all conditions.
However, Warner Bros. has done tests on shows that we own, almost entirely by acquisition I would like to add, wherein we successfully completed the reconstruction of uncut negative for shows that were finished on video, but unfortunately at a very high cost.
As you already know, Warner Bros. has constructed a state-of-the-art archive facility on the Burbank lot. The cut original negative and master video elements that are created for television are stored here, as well as the materials from the classic television years that we are most fortunate to have.
Cataloguing and inspection are done at this time and we are continuing to combine the television and feature cataloguing and computer archive systems and they are constantly also being reevaluated because not only do we find now that we have format problems on the actual material, we are beginning to have format problems in the programs for the archives that we are trying to catalogue. So it only seems to get more complicated as we go along.
Additionally, Warner Bros. is exploring the impact and use of new technologies, including digital storage systems, new production formats and techniques, technologies and development and ways to solve the problems relating to the preservation and restoration of older video elements, due to continuing machine and format obsolescence.
This is being done at Warner Bros. as a comprehensive project that includes all phases of production, distribution, archives and preservation and the potential use of the emerging new technologies for all of these related areas. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Finally for this panel Mr. John Craddock, the Director of Post Production, East Coast Business Affairs for Home Box Office in New York. John. STATEMENT OF JOHN CRADDOCK, HOME BOX OFFICE, DIRECTOR, POST PRODUCTION, EAST COAST BUSINESS AFFAIRS
MR. CRADDOCK: Thank you. I speak to you today representing HBO and really wearing two hats, both as a former professional librarian and as a film editor with 20 years of experience as a post production specialist in the production and distribution of films and videotape to non-theatrical, television and feature film markets, both domestically and internationally.
For the past four and a half years, I have been director of post production for HBO's east coast production unit and head of its post delivery planning and operations team.
Home Box Office, now a Time-Warner Entertainment Company, is a pay cable television service established in 1972 on which subscribers can see first run theatrical movies uncut, uncensored and uninterrupted by commercial breaks within a few months of their first theatrical release.
This concept revolutionized cable from being simply a way to improve reception into a completely new medium and remains the core of HBO's programming today.
From the beginning, HBO also licensed the transmission of live sports events. Its very first transmission was a Vancouver-New York hockey game in 1972. Other early highlights included such major events as the Mohammed Ali/Joe Frazier fight in 1975.
However, to create a unique identity, HBO has also produced original programming to support the feature film presentations licensed from the major studios and independent producers.
In 1976, we produced our first original. Robert Klein, on Location, the first of 444 stand-up comedy programs which helped revolutionize the presentation of comedy on television in this country. In the past 20 years, we have produced almost 3,500 programs to which we still hold rights to over 2,800. In addition to the comedy specials, these include nearly 200 documentaries, 135 feature films, 720 sports specials and over 1,000 episodes of series of various kinds, ranging from Not Necessarily the News to Inside the NFL and the Larry Sanders Show, plus nearly a thousand music and family specials.
A quantity of production and I might add a quality of production that is unrivaled in the cable industry. If our recent record for producing Oscar and Emmy award-winning programs is any indication, then perhaps in the television industry as a whole.
In fact, it was one of our productions, One Survivor Remembers, that won the Academy award for the best documentary short subject last night.
In the documentary field we may now be the largest single producer of long form socially conscious programming outside the grant supported sector and public television using some of the finest documentary film makers working today, tackling controversial subjects in a depth you will not find in the magazine formats of commercial television.
Our original feature films have through the strength of their scripts attracted actors and directors who do not normally work in television creating a niche of quality programs such as in And the Band Played On, Citizen X, Truman and Tuskegee Airmen that could not have been made for commercial television. It is these programs with which we are concerned today.
It could be safely said that HBO has a copy of every program it has produced since 1976 and this includes much of the pre-print film, audio and video material that goes into the making of the program.
Many of these programs are produced under license agreements, under the terms of which we are delivered a videotape which remains the property of the copyright holder, but from which we can make as many copies as we need.
We also have the right of access to other pre-print materials in the producer's possession for the duration of the license, which is generally the copyright term.
We now have eight different production units. HBO Original Programming on the east and west coasts, HBO Picture and HBO NYC which produce feature films, HBO Sports, HBO Independent Productions and HBO Downtown Productions which produce programming for other networks and HBO On-Air, which produced our promotional material, each with a different mandate and each functioning with a great deal of autonomy.
The rapidity with which HBO expanded its production capacity has led to some inconsistency in delivery and retention policy from unit to unit.
In response to this, a post delivery policy and planning report was prepared last year in which the materials that are essential to the retention of a title were evaluated and a company wide archiving policy was adopted.
For example, original cut negatives, final sound masters and the separate pre-mix tracks generally known as stems will be kept in perpetuity or for the duration of the license, whereas the disposition of negative out takes and production sound tapes will be reviewed after five years, that being considered the period during which any changes to meet marketing or creative interests are most likely to occur. Working elements that can be easily reproduced from the originals will be reviewed after one year.
I should add that in the case of documentaries the license agreement usually precludes the reuse of the out takes in any other program. So, they are not available as a stock footage resource.
We acknowledge that the explosion of interest in American television programming overseas has stimulated interest in preserving these assets for us in other markets.
It now makes good business sense to plan more carefully for international use so that elements such as fully filled music and effects tracks for dubbing into other languages and textless backgrounds for title and subtitles are now a standard part of our delivery requirements.
It was with this need in mind that we are expanding the database created by HBO Studios, which bar codes and tracks all the elements that have passed through its doors to include elements that are in storage in our name in other parts of the United States and other countries or to which the producer has given us the right of access.
Our interest in preservation was further accelerated by the problems involved in remastering the Time Life Films catalogue which we now administer.
This consists of 192 feature length films, six documentary series, including five seasons of the Wild Wild World of Animals, all made originally for broadcast by the commercial networks in the early 1970's and licensed to Time Life for domestic syndication and international distribution.
Time Life originally took delivery of these on 16mm reduction negatives, which was the medium for television distribution at the time, but had the right of access to 35mm originals.
The 16's no longer meet today's television standards and the existing one-inch masters made during the early 1980's are equally unacceptable.
Time Life Films went out of business in 1980 and its files lay dormant for some time. Some of the labs and vaults where materials were stored have also gone out of business.
Tracing the whereabouts and availability of the original film elements today is a paper chase requiring determined research. When we do locate the originals, we frequently find that there is no interpositive, placing the aging original negative at risk.
This experience has been an object lesson in the importance of maintaining constant vigilance of both the records and the materials themselves.
I am pleased to say that we have now allocated funds to make protection interpositives of all these pictures, which also serve as a source for remastering to digital tape in order to service the renewed interest in their distribution.
With our consciousness raised by the problems attached to the Time Life Films collection, we are also addressing issues of protection and longevity for HBO's own productions.
We now recognize the importance of keeping copies of programs in separate locations. Current air masters and their back ups are kept at our transmission center at Hauppauge on Long Island and at the HBO Studios on 23rd Street in Manhattan.
The main library of our back list of videotapes is kept at a storage facility in Manhattan a few blocks away. Still more material is in vaults in New Jersey and the bulk of our west coast inventory is in storage in north Hollywood.
We also have materials in storage in London and in Toronto. The bulk of the film negative are held by the labs that originally process the film. All of these facilities are fully professional, industry recognized vaults that conform to the temperature and humidity standards recommended for the short and mid-term storage of film and videotape.
We are now addressing the issue of long-term storage of film negative and are considering options for the refrigerated storage of this material.
We are also transferring older negative originals and magnetic sound masters to inert plastic containers to further ensure their future stability. In all, there must be nearly 100,000 film and tape elements in storage between our various facilities.
Although we can rest comfortably with the knowledge that the videotapes of all our programs do exist, we cannot be as secure about their future.
Other witnesses have reminded you of the short life expectancy of videotape itself and of the proliferation of incompatible formats which rise and wane with often alarming frequency.
So, I will not belabor that point any further, except to say that HBO itself has progresses from two-inch to one-inch to D-2, briefly to DCT and we are now engaged in remastering all of our air product to digital Betacam, which looks as if it will be the domestic and international standard for the next few years at least.
As the collection continues to grow, perpetual retransferring will become a financial burden difficult to bear. At present we only examine and retransfer as a program reenters our transmission cycle, which in the case of older programming will become less and less frequent.
As interest diminishes, we will have to determine what to preserve in the newer medium. As you have been told by other witnesses, the problem of selection is further aggravated by the near impossibility of determining what posterity will find important.
Another serious factor we have to contend with is the rapid expansion of random access electronic editing by means of computer technology with such machines as the Avid and the Lightworks.
For our major dramatic productions, we do still cut negative, create interpositives and transfer directly from edited film to tape.
As film is a longer laster storage medium, we are fully protected for transfer to new media of transmission in the future, such as high definition television.
For documentaries and family programming and series, the future is not as secure. Even though the edit decision lists created by the computer allow for match back to the film negative, the negative is not usually cut at the present time.
In fact, on many of these programs, it is a mix media of part film, part videos. There is no intact negative possible for the entire production, but in theory it can be cut at a future date.
However, the rapidity of change in the computer world could leave our successors in 20 years time with no hardware that can play back today's software and therein lies a future of further obstacles to remastering this valuable material for future generations.
In conclusion, I would like to say that as a former librarian I am by nature a collector and it distresses me to see anything discarded that one day might be of interest to someone else.
However, reality bites. Joni Mitchell once sang that they paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Substitute film storage vaults and you will recognize our dilemma. However, I see some hope.
The improvements in compression technologies and the development of new storage mediums, such as the digital disc, may prove to be the safeguard for this medium that microfilm and microfiche were for the printed page, enabling us to preserve for the future without forever expanding the footprint it now takes to do so.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much.
David, do you want to start?
MR. MURPHY: Well, let me start. Ms. Sullivan, by now CNN has acquired tens of thousands of field cassettes; perhaps over 100,000. Are all of those saved? Are you weeding them out and if so, what criteria are being used?
MS. SULLIVAN: Well, that is a good question and I have to tell you that I have been the library manager in the D.C. Bureau for a little over a year so I am still trying to sort through the collection that we have in Washington, D.C., the video collection, which exceeds 50,000.
I can tell you that we are still trying to figure out the role of headquarters, the library in Atlanta as it relates to the bureau libraries. It is important to point out that sometimes bureau needs differ from Atlanta's with respect to weeding and selection of tape.
So, I can speak for the D.C. bureau and our selection process. We receive over a 100 tapes a day and right now we have trucks full of video that we are either trying to integrate into the collection, catalogue or discard, but generally what we do is receive the tapes daily and we decide whether to keep them based on their importance with respect to what is currently important, and deemed to be of historical significance.
I should point out that much of the tape we receive is also in the Atlanta library. I have to say that sometimes it is a difficult judgment call to make. We also have a shelf of what we call 30-day tapes (kept for 30 days) that are comprised of hearings and press conferences.
Overwhelmingly we receive politically related video. We decide whether this material is going to be 30-dayed, but then we have a lot of input from our editors, who can look into the database and see that something has been 30-dayed and that it is not slated to become a part of the permanent collection and we are in sometimes a difficult situation because after all, they know the collection very well and they use it incessantly.
So, it is a fine line as archivists and librarians making decisions about what we are going to keep based on its value for the short-term, but then we have editors who also like to have input into this process.
So what we try to do is be as embracing as we can, since they do use the material and they know the collection, but sometimes we just have to impose a decision on them.
I know Kathy has some fairly stringent guidelines. It is not that we do not, but I have to say that I am fairly new and I am still trying to sort through this collection. I come from audio. I used to be at National Public Radio and I was acting manager of their audiotape collection. This is quite a leap from audio to video.
MR. FRANCIS: You have described a very impressive preservation policy.
There are a large number of cable networks springing up all over the place. A lot of them are undertaking production in some way or other.
Is there any cable network organization where issues like preservation are discussed, or could be discussed? I am really not sure how the cable industry is organized as regards communication between the cable operators.
MR. CRADDOCK: Not that I am aware of at this level. There may be some sort of loose association of cable managements to serve their special interests in dealing with government regulation or so forth, but I do not think this kind of subject has ever been discussed.
MR. MURPHY: Peter, first a brief question. Is geographical disbursal part of your preservation strategy for television materials?
MR. GARDINER: Yes. Generally what has happened is that since we do retain multiple copies and we have our own facilities, such as California video center down by the airport as well as the building and the building is divided, plus we have secondary storage on the lot.
Materials are moved around so that the same copies are not in the same place. The original negatives and the interpositives are stored separately as well.
MR. MURPHY: Okay. The public often identifies the most popular television programs with the networks that broadcast them, but in fact the programs, especially those on prime time, are owned by the producers or production studios like Warner Bros.
What is the line of demarcation between what the networks own and what the studios own? How do you go about retrieving your materials or do you?
MR. GARDINER: Well, generally what has happened is, it is, even though as you point out the networks are the entity identified with the show, the materials are actually produced by us and we distribute to the networks.
So essentially they have the air copy and/or the air tape or whatever. The medium. We retain all of the production materials and storage materials for time. So if we need something in the future, we generally do not go back to them, because we have also retained it at the studio.
MS. RINGER: Just a couple questions. This is for my own information. Warner Bros. owns HBO, right?
MR. CRADDOCK: Time-Warner owns both.
MS. RINGER: Time-Warner owns HBO.
MR. CRADDOCK: Yes.
MS. RINGER: Who owns Time-Warner?
MR. GARDINER: Time-Warner owns Time-Warner and Time-Warner owns Warner Bros. It gets confusing because the Warner is in Time-Warner and Warner Bros.
MS. RINGER: Time-Warner is independent. Where does Turner fit into this?
MR. GARDINER: This is on the record and I am here in Washington.
MS. RINGER: You do not need to answer that.
MR. GARDINER: I can answer it by telling you that it is a good question. I can also answer by telling you we have all been asked not to discuss the very question.
MS. RINGER: Okay. My only other question involves the physical masses and masses of stuff you all have. How much of it is in digital form? How much of it has been recorded digitally? Do you know? Let me go down the row.
MS. SULLIVAN: Okay. Once again, very little in Atlanta and nothing in the D.C. bureau, but I should point out that right now the New York bureau is doing some digital recording and storage.
MS. RINGER: Do you have any idea how much is planned for the future?
MS. SULLIVAN: Well, I think that is what everyone is talking about, that is are we going to move towards digital storage, but nobody that I know of seems to have any time line when that might be accomplished.
MS. RINGER: Well, it seems clear from what has been said today that the more of that the easier it will be to ultimately archive.
MS. SULLIVAN: Right. Of course it is tremendously expensive.
MS. RINGER: Yes.
MS. SULLIVAN: Not that that is a reason not to do it, if that is what should be done, but I think--
MS. RINGER: Retrospectively, but if you do it at the time?
MS. SULLIVAN: I agree. I was just talking about that earlier today that if we were ever going to do that, we would have to just forget about any sort of retrospective endeavor and just work from this point. We have the infrastructure to do it and the means to do it, let's do it from this day forward.
MR. GARDINER: The rule of thumb basically is as I pointed out earlier, it is somewhat ironic that the 77 Sunset Strip, et cetera, are just out there in black and white film for all these years before there was renewed interest and probably never even saw a two-inch because it was aired as prints in those days and everything else. Now it has all been recorded onto D-1.
You will also see in the production standard that digital is now called for, for television production. So I think probably from the standpoint of both the older material and new production, you can pretty much look at the last three years, it may be a little conservative.
That is the bench mark. The early 1990's for everything going digital. Anything that is a re-record or anything that is a re-record for preservation skips the media that it is on and also goes directly to digital.
But from a point of view of how much has been done, it is very hard to say because you are dealing with both the historical material and also the news production.
MS. RINGER: Mr. Craddock?
MR. CRADDOCK: Well certainly everything we produced in the past five years has been done digitally and anything that we have rebroadcast in that time has been transferred to a digital format.
So I would say that is at least 1,000 programs, which I would say that 2,800 we still have rights to, because our production is accelerating all the time. This year our production is going to be 50 percent higher than it was last year.
MS. RINGER: For the last--
MR. CRADDOCK: Five years.
MS. RINGER: --five years.
MR. CRADDOCK: So I would say at least 1,000 programs. I should caution one thing there. It is usually the air master. We always have at least three copies of a videotape.
There is either the original film to tape transfer from a film negative or the electronically edited master that is delivered to us, from which we make an air master and a back up master, at least. Sometimes we have more copies than that.
MS. RINGER: Are you registering for copyright?
MR. CRADDOCK: Yes.
MS. RINGER: What do you deposit?
MR. CRADDOCK: Usually we send a 3/4" copy, but if we are asked for something else, if we have film print, we can supply that.
MS. RINGER: You could supply?
MR. CRADDOCK: On some programs.
MS. RINGER: All right. Out of curiosity, do you consider the digital as good as film in terms of quality?
MR. CRADDOCK: In terms of image quality, well it reproduces as accurately as what is put on it in the first place.
MS. RINGER: I have heard with respect to these little dishes that they only get four colors and that the quality is not as good. That may be the transmission and not the recorded version.
MR. CRADDOCK: If that is the case, that would be the transmission, yes.
MS. RINGER: Okay. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: CNN does not register its programs for copyright. Has there been any consideration or discussion about changing that policy?
MS. SULLIVAN: I can answer this much and just say, yes. I do not feel equipped to really elaborate. I hate to say this, but I could have Kathy get back to all of you in greater detail on many of these issues.
Again, in addition to having oversight of a video collection, I also have oversight of day-to-day research. So, I am not totally immersed in this as much as many of my colleagues here today, but I have to tell you that I have learned an awful lot. It has been very interesting.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much.
MS. SULLIVAN: Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: We will have our next panel. We started out with a panel of two, but we had a last minute cancellation and so Jim Lindner, president of Vidipax, has the speaker's table to himself. I will now ask you to give your statement. STATEMENT OF JAMES LINDNER, PRESIDENT, VIDIPAX, INC.
MR. Lindner. I have been fortunate to participate in these proceedings as both a panel member and as a speaker today. I would like to thank the Library of Congress for having these hearings in the first place and for allowing me to participate in both of these capacities.
In many ways I am fortunate being one of the last speakers in this process. I have had the opportunity of hearing many of the statements of those before me. Many of those statements reported on many of the problems associated with saving our videotape heritage.
There is little that I can add of substance in this area. The point has been made many times. Simply put, magnetic media was never designed to last forever and many institutions and individuals around the world are finding our that their collections are becoming difficult to properly play back for many reasons.
We are in serious danger of losing a significant part of our visual and audio heritage, but that is very well known now, indeed it was very well known before these hearings.
I would like my contribution then to be to offer some ideas that can be implemented that are reasonable, cost effective and can actually achieve something.
Before I do, I think it is important to briefly state my background and therefore my position and biases on the subject. I am the president of Vidipax, Inc., which is in the magnetic media restoration business.
Our company is headquartered in Manhattan and we employ about ten people whose main job is to save the materials we speak of for our clients. One of our clients is the Library of Congress and many of our clients have appeared as witnesses in these proceedings and given statement.
Since its formation, Vidipax has saved literally thousands of tapes and have been fortunate to receive awards for our work. We try to publish articles on the subject as broadly as possible to as wide an audience as possible and we also frequently give educational seminars and speeches on an international basis.
Our clients come from many different geographical regions, vary from individuals with a single tape of personal interest to mega media conglomerates that have thousands of tapes that are extremely valuable and document important historic events.
We literally have a museum of old equipment that we maintain of many different formats and we have a storeroom filled with these machines that we use largely for parts to keep the main machines running properly.
Our staff is well trained and many of them are young, so that the knowledge of how to run this equipment will not be lost. As you know, most of the early operators of the equipment have largely retired at this point in time.
Our rates are very reasonable and we assist artists and independent video makers who are less able to financially afford our services whenever possible.
Bottom line, we are a very small company that is proud to do some very good work. We are not yet profitable, but we can always dream.
On a personal level, I am chairman of the board of the Anthology Film Archives in New York, a non-profit organization which is one of the largest archives for independent film and video in the world. Anthology has struggled to survive for 25 years and truly is the home of independent film and video in this country.
In summary, my experience is in actually restoring magnetic media and then helping many organizations and individuals that have tapes that they need to play back.
The problems that we have heard in these hearings are large and diverse and at first blush may seem hopeless. How can one reconcile the diverse needs of independent video producers and art organizations who have barely enough money to pay the phone bill with the needs of large departments of larger corporations whose images, which are known as their assets, literally trace our history for 40 years and are now first starting to realize some income from their investment, only to have blatant copyright violations threaten their survival.
How does one reconcile the fact that manufacturers have a direct economic incentive to introduce new video formats as technology allows them to offer new and important features to their customers to the plaintive cries of libraries and archives asking for a single Holy Grail video or digital format to transfer all of their materials to.
I would like to get back to this later after I have read my prepared statement, because digital media has its own problems, which need to be discussed.
These are not neat problems to address and many solutions in fact may work at cross purposes to different groups who all have their specific needs. There are some things that we all share in common, however.
We all share the belief that at least some of this work needs to be saved and we all share the fact that we are largely dependent on the equipment and tape manufacturers to provide products that are used in the production of video materials in the first place.
As an aside, I am extremely disappointed that so few manufacturers that have profited so greatly by making this equipment and selling the tape have participated in this process.
Clearly they perceive that they have little to gain by participating. After all, they have already sold the equipment that has recorded the images and sold the tape that the images are stored on.
Since most archives do not purchase much tape or equipment, but rather inherit it, their lack of interest is understandable although it is extremely disappointing and myopic.
I personally challenge the equipment and tape manufacturers to remove their collective heads from the sand and assist us in saving our visual heritage. Who knows? They actually might make money doing it, once they give it a try.
But what is one big need that we all have that the Library of Congress can assist in? We collectively share the need to know more and the need to make sense and deal with the huge volume of materials that are being generated every day.
Clearly the problems are difficult to neatly tie up in a box and therefore the solutions are similarly ungainly. That does not mean that they are hopeless and therefore should be abandoned for more fertile fields.
Some of the suggestions made during these hearings, while laudable, are virtually impossible to implement from an economic and political standpoint. Indeed, some of them fall beyond the purview of the Library of Congress and into private industry and other organizations, both non-profit and government, whose charter is more appropriate.
I personally do not feel that it is appropriate for government to compete with the private sector and if there is a need in the market for restoration and other services that need will and has been responded to in the private sector by companies such as ours.
I do think that there are many things that do fall within the grasp of the Library that would make a real and meaningful contribution that are relatively simple to implement and that are appropriate to the role of the Library.
One of the biggest needs that we all share is to be able to learn more about the problems that we share in common and some of the solutions that have been offered. Contrary to common belief, there is actually quite a bit of research that has occurred in the past about different aspects of magnetic and magnetic media.
To that end, anyone doing research in this area has been frustrated by the difficulty of getting articles and research that has already been published.
Many of these periodicals are long out of print, were produced by companies that have long stopped distributing them, appeared in extremely limited circulation publications or are very technical proceedings of symposia that have occurred on an international basis with limited circulation.
As such, a bibliography should be undertaken that broadly examines various aspects of the problems of magnetic media, preservation and the associated issues of collection management.
Mr. Gerald Gibson of the Library of Congress has produced a document that is a good start and those efforts should be dramatically expanded. Creating a bibliography is one thing. Actually being able to find and read the articles is another.
Unless one lives in Washington, D.C. or has access to a very large university library and has a great deal of time to spare, actually getting your hands on these periodicals, many of which are long out of print from esoteric sources, is a virtual impossibility.
If the Library could make a collection of these articles and make the collection of these articles available electronically, a great service would be provided.
Video materials that are not seen are not of much interest to the general public and therefore die. As such, the issue of access is important, but also building an audience for the diversity of our video heritage is extremely important.
Screenings of diverse materials to a broad audience across America will develop interest in video that few have seen before. As such, the diversity of video becomes one of its greatest strengths.
The Library could put together a show that traveled to different cities all across America on the cultural history of television and could have public screenings be a part of that exhibition.
Many for profit organizations would benefit from such a travelling show and I think that corporate sponsorship, perhaps from some of those organizations that have testified at these hearings, is very possible.
Such an exhibition could concentrate more on who we are as people and the impact of television and video on us, as opposed to being a show that simply panders to reruns of 1950's situation comedies. I am sure that many of the smaller archives would be extremely happy to participate in such a project.
Education, in my opinion, is an appropriate role for the Library of Congress and unfortunately there is virtually no education of today's video producers or film makers on how to take care of materials that they handle on a daily basis so that they will survive for the future.
Distributing a small brochure to film and video students that outlines why preservation of these materials is important and the role that the Library of Congress in preserving our audio visual heritage would be very useful.
Further, producing a curriculum outline that could denote one day in a film or video student's college education as a media handling and preservation day would be extremely helpful in building awareness and hopefully saving materials that we will be trying to save 15 years from now.
Such a curriculum could include a video presentation on how to handle media, on how the media materials are manufactured and even discussing copyright issues from the source would I think be extremely well received.
Again, I think corporate sponsorship of such an initiative would be quite achievable if it is desired. I for one would be happy to participate in such an effort.
Finally, a plea for the Library of Congress collection itself. If there is an area where Congressional appropriation should be requested, it should be here. The Library simply has far too many materials now that are far too valuable for them not to be protected.
The task at hand is far too large for those who are expected to currently do it and the budget and therefore the effort associated with the protection of video within the Library of Congress is minuscule, particularly when compared to the large budgets spent on preserving paper documents.
Simply put, magnetic media is an orphan even within the Library of Congress. Even with external vendors such as our company the rate at which Library of Congress is able to restore its own materials is so slow, the resources so small, that much of the material is doomed based on current appropriations.
Perhaps physician heal thyself is an appropriate moniker. Nevertheless, many of the materials that the Library currently has on deposit are already old and in a serious state of deterioration. I know, because we have restored some of them. A delay in restoring them will seal their fate forever.
Finally, I urge the Librarian of Congress to save the materials already within the Library's custody and to take a leadership position in being a role model for all libraries and collections around the world.
Simply put, most librarians are paper people, having been trained and having worked with paper for their entire careers. I am not arguing against paper preservation, rather I am arguing for magnetic media preservation and further argue for the inclusion of magnetic media into Library Science and Archival curricula, both within the Library and within the academic community at large.
It is ironic that those who have been entrusted to save these materials have received virtually no training on how to do it and are extremely ill equipped to deal with the virtual tidal wave of magnetic media that have already started to inundate their collections.
I urge the Library of Congress to take a leadership position and demonstrate to the libraries of the world that libraries are not just for books. Librarians, archivists and curators must learn how to preserve and manage the many media types that hold different types of information.
I argue for media equality or perhaps better put, I argue for media parity. Our librarians and archivists must embrace all media, because their expertise is a vital element in the survival of our cultural heritage.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Jim.
MR. FRANCIS: You were going to talk about digital technology. I really did not want us to go without hearing your thoughts.
MR. LINDER: Yes. I think that there is a tendency for people to discuss or think of digital as this magic solution to everything. Frankly I am quite technical and digital does not mean anything as such.
There are many different types of technology. There are many different techniques for storing information, none of which are perfect and all of which rely on media.
Frankly, if the piece of tape or media that the digital information is stored on ends up as sort of a solid hockey puck, it really does not matter whether it is ones or zeros or analog information. The fact of the matter is, is that the failures that we have seen are really media failures for the most part.
A particular concern as far as digital technology is a concern that in many cases either you have everything or you have nothing. I personally have seen many cases of digital recording, some of which we have done ourselves, that have had problems where you end up with literally nothing.
Digital tape is approximately one-third the thickness of regular. Analog recording media. There is virtually no long-term history on digital media to really tell us that it is going to be around. The fact that it is one-third thinner I think is a very great concern.
D-1 is an example that has been talked about this afternoon. It is essentially an obsolete format. D-2 is hardly manufactured by Sony. It is mostly on a special order type of a basis.
There have been several new formats that have been digital formats, which have very heavy compression, which I think is of question and needs to be discussed. It is of questionable value in an archive type environment.
So, I view digital media as having a whole host of problems. We are going to start saying 15 years from now, gee, why did we not do this? Why did we not do something else?
MR. FRANCIS: Can I just follow up on that? What do you really recommend an archive does now, that is thinking about a 100-year preservation cycle?
Should it be undertaking analog and digital preservation or just analog? We have to make decisions about this and I am worried about what we should be doing at this moment.
MR. LINDER: A hundred years is sort of daunting for a person such as myself, but I will take a shot at it. I think that the most prudent decision is to spread the risk as widely as possible.
That means having multiple copies on multiple formats, both analog and digital, that are held in different locations so the strength is in multiple formats of different types.
I think one thing that is clear is that whatever single decision you make right now will be wrong. So, if you choose one single format, forget it.
We recommend to most of our customers to minimally make two copies, one on an analog format, which, despite whatever else, we know how to make it play back, it may not be perfect, but you can get an image, as opposed to a digital recording, when sometimes you can get nothing.
MR. MURPHY: Jim, in earlier testimony witnesses identified two-inch and half-inch open reel as crisis formats. What, in your opinion, is the next crisis format?
MR. LINDER: In my opinion, three-quarter inch umatic is by far the biggest long-term problem that we are facing. With half-inch open reel, the tape sales were in the tens of thousands. With quad, the tape sales were relatively small, because they are so expensive and in limited distribution.
With three-quarter inch umatic, we have millions and millions and millions of units out there, most of which have been environmentally abused on a rather regular basis. We are running 24 hours a day now doing umatic work, if that gives you any indication. So umatic is a very, very severe concern.
MR. MURPHY: Well, I think we are at an end. I want to thank you all very much for your attention and interest. Thank you.
(Whereupon, at 4:45 p.m. the hearing was adjourned.)
CASE TITLE: THE CURRENT STATE OF AMERICAN TELEVISION AND VIDEO PRESERVATION: A PUBLIC HEARING HEARING DATE: MARCH 26, 1996 LOCATION: WASHINGTON, D.C. I hereby certify that the proceedings and evidence are contained fully and accurately on the tapes and notes reported by me at the hearing in the above case before the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. Date: April 9, 1996 GREGG J. POSS Official Reporter Heritage Reporting Corporation 1220 L Street, N. W. Washington, D. C. 20005