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The Internet, almost, never forgets

May 10th, 2011

The Voyager spacecraft is the furthest man-made object in the universe. There’s a chance it could be found by another civilization. The Voyager record was designed as an album that conveyed information about planet Earth. It was an analog device. Digital is harder for long-term storage.

There’s a common belief that things that get put online always stay there. But “the Internet never forgets” is simply not true. The Internet forgets all the time. Intuitively we don’t think there is a problem. But if we are trying to tell stories and leave a legacy online it’s a real problem.

Anytime Mickey Mouse is in danger of following into the public domain, copyright law is extended. If your content came after Steamboat Willy, you can have copyright forever.

taken from Luke Wroblewski’s notes [lukew.com] All Our Yesterdays a presentation by Jeremy Keith at An Event Apart in Boston, 2011

All the notes are worth reading… so go read them, I’ll be here when you get back.

Done? Good. So the second quote reminded me of my post The Internet Never Forgets” [confusion.cc] (You can see how that would remind me, yea?)

I still stand by what I said in that post — the internet never forgets, and you should never commit anything to writing you would not want read back to you in court. But maybe the law of the Internets’ memory should be, in the spirit of the Internet, mashed up with Murphy’s Law; The Internet never forgets things you wish it would and you can’t be sure it will remember the things you want it to.

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