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Re: [ARSCLIST] copyright and archives query

Many companys have a policy that once a document is no longer required to be retained under the statures, it is to be destroyed. This prevents fishing expeditions into past practices.

When I was researching the broaadcast history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I visited the Musicians Union headquarters. It was also Petrillo's home union of which he was president in addition to his holding the same position nationally.

All documents older than 7 years had been destroyed, since he had been investigated during the 1942 strike. However, I found what I was looking for in the board's minute books. Sometimes an end run is possible.

Steve Smolian

----- Original Message ----- From: <Mwcpc6@xxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 10:12 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] copyright and archives query

In a message dated 3/25/2007 4:15:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jtroutman@xxxxxxxxxxxx writes:

and  steven, that's a horror story if i ever heard one.   i have
utilized plenty of city, state, and federal government archives,
newspaper archives, and public and private libraries, but this is my
first venture into seeking corporate archives.  i guess i've  been
pretty lucky up to this point.  using ledgers as  insulation?  that's
the sort of thing that breaks my  heart.


Many years ago when I worked for Kodak I bought a "Cine Special" 16mm movie
camera, the model used for the original Disney time lapse sequences. I found
in an ad in an old National Geographic that said that each of the original
purchases of the camera would have their name entered into a permanent ledger
for all time.

I went to the curator of the division's patent museum, which still existed
at that time, and asked to see the record for my camera's serial number. He
became quite perturbed and went on a rant about how all the records of that
product had simply been thrown into a dumpster by a young production supervisor
on a cleanup campaign.

Much later the company became involved in major patent and antitrust
litigation at a time when new disclosure laws began to require that all documents in
any way relating to the issues be made available for examination by the
plaintiff's lawyers. This involved hauling literally truckloads of paper to a
special location where engineers who could have been involved in product
development spent years determining the relevancy of these documents.

After that, a firm rule was established that NO documentation was to be
retained unless it was essential for current production. I doubt that one can
expect to obtain much historical information from corporate archives, in the US
at least.

Mike Csontos

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