I think the idea about entrusting actual prints to an independent film archive is a good one. In terms of public access, though, it wouldn’t help much.
Of all the efforts here, it seems to me that the Despecialized Project fills that niche best.
Someday, though, the Despecialized Project will presumably be finished. This might happen either because it will reach a version that cannot be further improved upon or there won’t be anyone left who wants to continue it.
If the project reaches that point (perhaps decades from now) what will happen to the Final Despecialized Editions?
Catbus’s r/K analogy is apt. And I suppose anything involving the Library of Congress is out of the question, since copyright laws actually threaten the existance of the DEs rather than protect them.
At the same time, it seems inadequate to hang the future of films as significant as the OOT on a plan that amounts to flood the web with copies and hope some of them survive.
Is there some independent digital preservation society that exists now that could keep them online for posterity?
Something with the relative permanence of archive.org but the unofficiality of fanedit.info?
Or if nothing like that exists now, but came to be within our lifetime, could it hypothetically serve as a repository for the future last version of the DEs?