The Reward For Re-Discovering Archive Collections

Documentarians spend most of their time digging up materials that few people know exist. They frequent basements and dark storage rooms, endure conversations with crazy collectors, and typically develop vitamin-d deficiency and light sensitivity in search of what they need.

Their reward for finding the material? A bill from the original creators (the ones who lost and forgot about the work in the first place) for the privilege of using it.

Ars Technica reports a story about filmmaker David Hoffman who had to pay $320,000 for materials used in a film about Sputnik hysteria that swept the US in the 1950s. Unfortunately, the best The History Channel would pay for the entire film is $200,000.