VIC-20 Digital Archaeology CD:  Project FAQ

Please note that this project is no longer active as of October 2001.

What is this "CD Project" all about?
What we are doing is gathering up pictures of all the Vic20 items we can find. We are putting all the individual pictures onto a CD-ROM. We plan to add HTML code so that you can view what is on the disk, as if the CD itself was a giant web site full of Vic20 pictures. This will essentially be the virtual equivalent of a museum dedicated to the Vic20 home computer. Click here if you want to read more about the history and philosophy of the project.

What do you plan to include on the CD?
Pictures of Vic20 items are going to be the bulk of what is on the CD. Any texts we find that we feel would be helpful or interesting to Vic20 collectors or historians, will also be included. There will most likely not be any VIC-20 software on the CD, except for the few things that are LEGAL to include. There are already some programs that are legal to include, and we will endeavor to locate others. So that everyone can see what we are doing, as we are working on this, we keep lists that you can view here. You can see what items have been contributed so far, item-by-item, or you can get a quick summary that shows what we do have, compared to what we still want to find.

When will the CD be ready?
When it is ready. Not before then.  ;-)

You have to remember that this is a non-profit project, being run by unpaid volunteers. We have lives. If we have other things to do that are higher on our personal priority lists, then we will put this project aside for awhile. If we just do not feel like working on this or any other project at some particular time, we have the right to just "say no". But progress is being made, and we believe the end result will be a quality product that fans of this system will genuinely enjoy.

Here is the bad news: Certain things have held the project back. One of these was Ward (me) taking a year's vacation away from video games in general, because I was seriously close to burning out completely if I kept forcing myself to work all the time. (See news section.) A few other prominent VIC-20 collectors apparently had similar feelings, and some have dropped out of the "scene" altogether over the years. We've all learned that balance is a necessary thing!

Here is the good news: None of the work we did before has been lost. As of July 2000 there is 373 megabytes of stored pictures on Ward's hard drive. Ward owns a CD-ROM burner now, along with a quality color printer, so liner artwork and duplication of the master disk will not be a problem. We also have gotten in a number of things we did not initially expect we would ever have access to, so the project itself has expanded a bit beyond the original plans, too.

How much will this CD cost?
The plan all along has been for this to be a strictly non-profit project, done as a "labor of love". We'll have to see how things turn out, when it gets closer to the time when the CD is ready for sale to others. Some people are telling me that they would not mind if we tagged on a tiny "profit" margin, above the actual costs to make this product. If we do, it would only be a token amount, since we've invested hundreds of hours of unpaid labor and I'net time to make this CD.

Why use HTML?
Software to "browse the web" is cheap and standardized. (Mostly.) A number of retrogaming projects have successfully used HTML code to make their CD's both easy to view and to be compatible with the widest range of computers. Anyone with a web browser and a computer to run that on, will be able to view the images on our CD-ROM.

Who is involved in this project?
The person that runs this web site (Ward Shrake) is the head honcho. It was his idea to do this project. A number of others have voluntarily helped the project along. I thank them for their help, and I hope others appreciate our work. 

Will I be paid if I contribute to this project?
Maybe with "fame" and warm, fuzzy feelings but definitely not with money. All contributors are doing this for the love of the subject matter, not the promise of financial gain. (That includes me.) Remember, the plan is that this is a non-profit effort. Where then would the money come from? You can't get blood out of a turnip, no matter how hard you squeeze it! If I was treating this project like a business instead of the hobby it is, I would be the first in line with my hand out!

Even when I put out my Vic20 "cart list" way back in 1995, I have taken pains to credit others who've helped us. When the final CD is ready to go, lists similar to these will be included on the CD itself, to reward contributors. But no money will be paid to any person. (In case anyone wonders, the "staff" designation is largely honorary. Anyone who contributes to any large degree is allowed input, but Ward makes the final decisions, as it was his project to begin with, and he is putting out more time and money than anyone else. Any person listed as "staff" did a heck of a lot for the project.)

Will you be giving out free CD's when this is all over?
No. Again, remember that this is a non-profit venture. No profits equal no money to pay for giving anything away. If that makes sense to you, great. If not, then read this. Either way, please don't ask for "free" copies. There is no such thing. Somebody has to pay for them, and it certainly won't be the people that worked so hard to make this.

One thing I am considering doing is putting all of the graphics used for the liner artwork and so on, on the CD itself. This would allow anyone with a decent printer to make up more copies on their own. The problem here is quality control, but if it looks like we can give people a decent product that they can easily duplicate for their friends, etc, that may be a good thing? Keep in mind the idea that since we are preservationists, that we want this available decades from now.

Will this project infringe on anyone's copyrights?
We certainly hope not. The plan at this point is to only include the software that we know is "legal" because we've been given permission by the copyright holders or original authors to release it. As a hard-working historian and a person concerned with preservation, I would like to include the entire software library. But doing that could create problems.

We intend to honor both the spirit and the letter of all applicable copyright laws, as best we know them. Many people are very confused as to exactly what copyright means, what it protects, and so on. The exact text can be read on the internet, to see it for yourself. Hopefully, this will eliminate much confusion. (Title 17 of the United States Code is the language of the law. A key part of the United State's copyright laws is a principle that is commonly called "fair use". See Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 to find out all about "Fair use". You can read that section simply by clicking here.)

Basically, what that says is that as long as we behave reasonably, a project like ours is entirely legal whether or not the owners of various copyrights decide to give us permission to use their stuff. If you read the guidelines for "fair use" of a copyrighted material, this project fits perfectly. It is a non-profit undertaking, it is primarily a scholarly effort, and if anything, it may even raise the value of the actual artifacts. Also, we are "copying" only a tiny part of any one item; for instance, the cover of a magazine instead of the entire magazine itself. All in all, no reasonable persons should be offended? And if things stay consistent, many of the people that created this computer, its software and its history were happy to see it being preserved. (See the "starter kit" section for more info on that, as well as the Interviews section.)

And in closing ....
There is a saying I like a lot. It basically states that you always have three things to choose from (speed, quality and price) but you can only pick any two.  In this particular case, we are already planning on keeping the cost extremely low and the quality high, so speed is going to suffer. So I will say this once again... please be patient! OK? I'm not trying to be rude or mean or whatever; I'd rather say it twice here, up front, than a hundred times later on.

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