Lorybeth's post reminded me of an obsession i once had about storage. This started out as a comment, but I think it deserves a post.
I tend to be a pack rat, so the same extends to my computer life. Everything preserved and backed up. My real problem isn't capacity - hardware can be counted on to store more or more each year. The real problem, I found out - is reliability and lifespan.
Floppies are hopeless. Hard drives can last 3 to 5 years of normal use - they have moving parts, so wear and tear really gets to them. Cd's and Dvd's, in theory, can last 75 years. It turns out though that burned discs only last 2 to 5 years.
Another problem is decoding. Even assuming that your storage medium survives 10 or 20 years, would there still be cd or dvd drives in the future? It's not a trivial question. There are almost no serviceable vintage tape readers left in the planet. And the floppy is starting to disappear after holding on for 20 years.
And even assuming the hardware would be available - where would you get software drivers and applications to read your vintage file formats? The software company that made your app (assuming it would still be around that time) can't always be counted on to provide backward-compatibility.
I have been into computers for decades now. Much of my professional and academic life is in "soft copy". Every year I have to move my stuff into bigger disks, and more dvd's. Imagine the extent of the problem for companies and government agencies.
So what now? The solution for me is a bit philosophical –nature has solved the information storage problem through DNA. Rather than being stored in perpetuity, the information in DNA is preserved through countless generations by free sharing and copying (sexual or asexual reproduction) of an open and common format (same acid bases in all DNA in all species). This gives the information in dna a sort of “immortality”. Even if individual “discs” (bodies or species) die, DNA as a whole lives on.
The Internet and open source give us a possible space for DNA-like sharing, remixing, and replication. Things that aren’t always allowed by the law. Perhaps it’s time for the law to take a longer, wider view.