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Earlier this month, The Unofficial Apple Archive surfaced, a new project by Sam Henri Gold that aimed to create an online museum-like collection of thousands of classic Apple ads and other materials in order to preserve some of Apple’s greatest history for posterity.
Unfortunately, while Gold’s efforts appeared to be mostly educational and even somewhat philanthropic, it seems that Apple doesn’t agree. The site managed to remain online for only two weeks before Apple’s battalion of lawyers began issuing hundreds of takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), claiming that Gold was using copyrighted videos belong to Apple without permission.
Do you know what it’s like getting 700 email notifications on your wrist in like 2 minutes? Your wrist sorta goes numb from the vibrations.Sam Henri Gold, creator of The Unofficial Apple Archive
The move shouldn’t have come as a big surprise, as Gold himself admitted that the materials he was uploading to Vimeo were mostly Apple’s property, and he was aware that Apple might take issue with the archive, but told 9to5Mac that he had hoped the “amicable and educational nature of the archive” might result in Apple allowing it to remain online.
As The Verge points out, however, this apparently isn’t a new battle between Gold and Apple — the two have been “playing a game of whack-a-mole” for a while now. In fact, Gold has been trying to get this archive up in various forms for the past three years, having begun at the age of 15. Gold originally tried to host it on YouTube, and after that turned it into a Torrent and then later migrated it to a Google Drive folder, but it seems that Apple keeps catching up with him in one way or another.
To be clear, not all of the content is gone — there are still 264 videos remaining as of January 25, along with a huge collection of vintage Apple print ads — but it seems that all of the best videos have been taken down by Vimeo in response to the DMCA notices by Apple, which is par for the course when a company claims that its copyright is being violated, which Apple technically had every right to do in this case.
Gold told The Verge that he hasn’t heard directly from Apple yet — the takedown notices were sent to Vimeo, who in turn informed Gold that the videos were being pulled — but he does seem to be looking into his legal options, and he hasn’t stopped adding new content either, emphasizing that “this project isn’t going anywhere.”
Gold also adds that he’d love to work with Apple on this, if they would simply allow him to, even as a volunteer, noting that many past and present Apple employees have shown “overwhelming interest and support” for his attempt to preserve Apple’s history.
I get their brand doesn’t dwell in the past, but public company history preservation is invaluable for their devoted consumer base and researchers alike.
To be fair to Apple, companies do have a duty to protect their intellectual property, so it’s often necessary for them to take a hard line to any copyright infringement, regardless of the reasons for it. Still, Gold’s efforts to create an archive and the interest that it seems to garner suggests that creating an archive like this is something that Apple itself should take a closer look at.