Scientist reconstructs Guthrie bootleg

Mike Masnick at Techdirt points to a fascinating piece that I also came across earlier today, which describes how a mathematician helped win a Grammy — by using algorithms to restore an ancient bootleg of legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie singing a tune. The recording was so old, and the device used to record it so fragile, that it had to be painstakingly reconstructed using a fascinating process.

As Mike notes, it’s ironic that everyone is so happy to have what amounts to an illegal copy of Guthrie’s song — and also notes how the Guthrie estate has been less than enthusiastic about sharing the legend’s music, despite Guthrie’s own views on copyright. But the thing that really struck me as ironic, as I mentioned in a comment on Mike’s post, is that I listened to both copies of the song, and I actually prefer the original.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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