Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SDN is appalled.

We received this email this morning from the newly founded Social Documentary.net. While I can agree with their disgust that Digital Railroad has basically taken the money and ran (provided there was any left), I find the sentence "a tremendous loss to our visual culture" a bit much. First of all, if the customers did not have a back up of their own, well, then... I would never let anyone else store the only copy of a digital file. That is just bad practice. Hard drives are cheap these days. While it was a collection, it was only dictated and directed by business practices. Second of all while this appears to be a lament for the customers of Digital Railroad it comes off like an advertisement.
Just my two cents.
Here is the actual email.

"SocialDocumentary.net, a new documentary website for photographers, today expressed its deep concern over the loss of hundreds of thousands of images that had been stored on Digital Railroad Inc.-the online photo storage, web hosting, and stock photo sales company. According to a statement posted last week on the website of Diablo Management, a firm managing the foreclosure of Digital Railroad Inc, all of the images had been "destroyed, recovery is not possible." (http://www.diablomanagement.com/announcements/digital-railroad-inc.html)

"The wanton destruction of such a large collection of photographs is a tremendous loss to our visual culture," said Glenn Ruga, SocialDocumentary.net founder.

"If the recent experiences of cultural preservation can provide any guidance, it was the destruction of the original Penn Station in New York, which created the modern historic preservation movement. We hope that in time, the world will come to see that the destruction of this collection of images is a travesty and hopefully the beginning of awareness, sensitivity, and regulations about the reckless destruction of intellectual property in our newly created digital culture," said Ruga.

Diablo Management reports that the hardware for Digital Railroad will be sold to the highest bidder now that the online digital files of photographers-- who have come to rely on Digital Railroad to store, display, and sell their images-have been erased.

"Digital Railroad's treatment of photographers who relied on their service is disgraceful," said Ruga. "According to Diablo Management, Digital Railroad will still invoice and collect fees from users until December 19 but it is unlikely that many photographers will receive money duly owed to them."

SocialDocumentary.net was launched in late October at the Photo District News/PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. The website features documentary photography from around the world-images and words that are devoted entirely to exploring humanity, culture, and societies through the documentary form.

The goal of the site is to connect and inform societies around the world through photography and is a resource for teachers, students, policymakers, photo editors, and consumers."

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