Obtain Copies of Film and Video
Guidelines for Requests to Copy Film and Videotape
- Items are only available for duplication if already protected by archival masters which have been passed as satisfactory by the Library's Quality Control Specialists. Users requesting access to unprotected items must be prepared to meet all costs involved in the making of preservation masters for the Library in order to obtain the copies they are requesting.
- Films that are no longer within the prescribed term of copyright, i.e., 95 years from the original date of registration, or (if created after January 1, 1978) the life of the author plus 50 years, can be duplicated, except where there may be donor restrictions by terms of an instrument of gift. (The term of copyright was changed from 75 to 95 years in 1998. Films made prior to 1923 were "grandfather claused" and are no longer under copyright protection.)
- Films whose publication dates fall within the copyright period as stated in paragraph two will need to have an official copyright search performed by the Copyright Office to determine their copyright status. It is important that a requestor ask for an assignment search and/or a search for the current copyright holder. A copy of the official search indicating "no copyright registration found" or "no renewal found" must be filed with the Public Services Office before an order can be processed.
- Where a copyright owner is known, written permission will be necessary before a film can be copied.
- Where motion pictures are concerned, the requestor should give careful consideration to the possible existence of underlying rights, i.e., a film based on a previously copyrighted book or play, or a film that might include a copyrighted work such as a song or a play. According to the General Counsel of the Copyright Office, "...searchers only report on the registration record of the motion picture. A search of the registration record of any underlying material included in the motion picture will only be made if it is specifically requested and if the underlying material is sufficiently identified."
- Users should be aware that material deposited by claimants of copyright comprise the largest part of the film and television collection of the M/B/RS Division. In many cases, the copyright owner is the appropriate source for obtaining duplicated footage.
- In addition to the copyright, many donors place restrictions on the use of the materials they give to the Library. Where such conditions exist, written permission will be required.
- Duplication orders will be for an entire reel. No sections of a reel can be ordered.
- Cost estimates are handled in turn as quickly as possible. However, lenghty orders require five to ten working days for evaluation and charges.
- Users will be required to sign a Request to Copy Film and Videotape in LC Collections form stating the conditions governing duplication of the collections before an order can be processed.
- All orders must be prepaid by check or money order, (International orders require payment via check in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank or International money order). Purchase Orders will only be accepted from universities or federal agencies. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for completion of an order.
- The user bears responsibility for materials and services ordered.
If you would like to make a request, Contact the Motion Picture and Television Public Services Office at Tel: (202) 707-5623 or Fax: (202)707-2371, or mail your written request to:
Library of Congress
Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division
Motion Picture and Television Reference Desk
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540-4690
Last Updated: 10/15/2015