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Program Audio Visual Conservation

Copies of Film and Video

As an archive, we are primarily concerned with preserving our film and video holdings and making them available for research on our own premises. The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division sells copies of moving images from its collection, but only if copyright, preservation, or donor restrictions allow.

Most of our moving image collection consists of complete productions protected by copyright. Researchers may view copyrighted works at the Library, but the copyright owner is usually the appropriate source for obtaining duplicate footage.

We do not maintain a list of copyright-free material. Films made prior to January 1, 1923, are in the public domain and may be duplicated except where there may be donor restrictions by terms of an instrument of gift. While many (or even most) films published after January 1, 1923, are still protected by copyright, this is not always the case. Therefore, a search of the ownership records maintained by the Library’s Copyright Office may be necessary to determine an individual work’s copyright status. More information can be found in Copyright Office Circular 22, How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work (PDF, 293 KB).