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Recordable CDs may not last as long as believed

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Photos, movies and other data stored on recordable compact discs may not be as safe as consumers believe, according to a Dutch computer magazine.

Manufacturers typically claim recordable CDs will last at least 10 years under normal conditions. But in a study published in PC-Active's September edition, three out of 31 recordable CD brands tested in the Netherlands had serious errors less than two years after they were recorded.

"People take for granted that because it's digital data, it will not break. They don't believe it will go bad," magazine editor Wammes Witkop said. "But we've realized, the only guarantee is that it will break. The question is when."

Witkop said the CDs were recorded in November 2001 as part of an earlier quality test of discs available in Holland. They were stored in a filing cabinet for 20 months, then retested.

One brand that tested poorly was MMore, which has 20 percent of the Dutch market and sells discs in 20 countries. MMore said that the study's findings were wrong and that it still guarantees its CDs for 70 years.

"We've sold 600 million CDs and never had a single complaint about this," CEO Gerben Borsje said.