The shelf life is FAR longer than Slashdot nerds would have you believe.
No one specified a time frame here, certainly not the original story.
As far as I'm concerned, 100 years is more than adequate. Beyond that its someone elses problem.
The technology will change and people will have to move the data to another media well before then.
I've been burning optical media since about 1995. Back then a CD burner cost almost $2000 and the discs were $15 each.
I can say, with certainty, that well stored optical discs absolutely do NOT come anywhere close to meeting the shelf lives that are claimed by manufacturers today.
Of the gold discs I have from the mid 90's 100% of them are still readable, but beyond that, virtually every make and brand of media I've got has varying levels of failures up to about four or five years ago. So far I haven't had any fail since then. The failure rate approaches 100% for discs, regardless of brand, bought and burned between maybe nine and twelve years ago. I stopped burning CDs around that range of time, but my DVDs from that period have nearly as high failure rates, as well. I'd say the interim years its probably more like 10-20%, but it'll be five more years until I know if they start to fail at the same rate.
Keep in mind the warranty periods are based on two things -- the fact that virtually no one will ever file a claim for a replacement media, and the fact that the warranties explicitly do not cover losses of the data on the media. They can say 100 year shelf life because in five years if the media fails, no one is going to exchange it for a new version of a media they no longer use regularly, anyway.
The fact is, there's *no* single media durable enough for even mid-term storage at modern data densities. (And by mid-term, I mean "boy I'd like this pictures of my kids to still be readable when they get married" kind of range. Old megabyte-sized harddrives and old 80, 160, maybe 320KB floppies are largely still readable, if you can find the interfaces and hardware. Older low-density tapes are, too, but as I learned the hard way, if you don't write on the tape what software you used to record it, you're pretty much SOL if you want to read it in the future.
Effortless media-shifting is the only real solution these days -- keep copying them from one computer to another.