TIL that over 90% of American movies made before 1929 are lost, no copies are known to exist

Read more: https://fact-central.com/2021/12/31/over-90-of-american-movies-made-before-1929-are-lost-no-copies-are-known-to-exist/

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  1. The main reasons are not physical:

    * Brutally enforced and very messy copyrights, preventing directors, actors, etc. to keep their own copies, or libraries to keep archival copies.

    * Secondarily, keeping archival copies is a (small) expense, and there is always some accountant at head office looking to cut small expenses to get a small bonus.

    Note: all these movies were usually made in dozens or hundreds of copies for distribution to movie theaters, and more than 1 copy would have been stored in separate archives, so studio fires etc. is not a good reasons.

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