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Program National Film Preservation Board

Legislation Impacting Film Preservation

Legislative initiatives of interest to moving image preservation community covering intellectual property laws, orphan works legislations and others.

112th Congress (2011-2012)

H. R. 2933: Sound Recording Simplification Act. "To amend title 17, United States Code, to remove the exclusion from Federal copyright of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972." Introduced September 14, 2011.

  • Bill Summary and Other Legislative Info
    Amends federal copyright law to remove a provision that, with respect to sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, prohibits:
    (1) any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any state from being annulled or limited by federal copyright law until February 15, 2067; and
    (2) subjecting such sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, to federal copyright before, on, or after February 15, 2067.
  • Sept. 14, 2011: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
  • Sept. 23, 2011: Referred to the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet.

111th Congress (2009-2010)

No significant legislative intitatives impacted moving image preservation during this Congressional session.

110th Congress (2007-2008)

1. H.R. 5893: Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2008. "To reauthorize the sound recording and film preservation programs of the Library of Congress, and for other purposes." Introduced April 24, 2008.

2. Orphan Works Act of 2008

April 24, 2008: Legislation Introduced in Both U.S. House (H.R. 5889) and Senate (S. 2913). Press Release from Congressional SponsorsH.R. 5889 "Orphan Works Act of 2008"

  • Copy of Legislation and Bill Summary: H.R. 5889 "Orphan Works Act of 2008"
    Legislative Chronology:
    • March 13, 2008: Hearing Held in U.S. House Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property subcommittee on Thursday, March 13, 2008.
    • April 24, 2008: H.R. 5889 Introduced in U.S. House and referred to House Judiciary Committee.
    • May 7, 2008: At a "mark-up session," House Intellectual Property Subcomittee approved HR 5889 (with amendments). Bill now moves to full House Judiciary Committee for consideration mark-up session documents.

S.2913 "Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008"

  • Copy Legislation and Bill Summary: S. 2913 "Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008,"
    Legislative Chronology:
  • April 24, 2008: S.2913 introduced in U.S. Senate
  • May 15, 2008: Senate Judiciary Committee unaimously passed the bill during a mark-up session. The legislation now moves to the full Senate for a floor vote and has been placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 738.
  • September 26, 2008: U.S. Senate passes S. 2913 by unaninous consent.

3. Section 108 Study Group

4. Do-It (Digital Opportunity Investment Trust) Legislation Digital Promise Passed by Both Houses Of Congress on July 31, 2008. Copy of Section 802 (the relevant section) External (PDF, 66KB), Press Release, and Fact Sheet. Visit for more information. Current Status: Legislation (H.R. 4137) passed by Congress on July 31, 2008). Signed into law August 14 as PL110-315.

5. H.R. 4279: Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act of 2007

6. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008 (S.3325)

7. Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights-holders in Music (PERFORM) Act of 2007. S.256. "A bill to harmonize rate setting standards for copyright licenses under section 112 and 114 of title 17, United States Code, and for other purposes."

  • Current Status: S. 256 introduced on January 11, 2007. More information, including text of bill and legislative status at: PERFORM Act legislation

8. Fair Use Act of 2007

Introduced as a stand-alone bill, HR1201, a bill "To amend title 17, United States Code, to promote innovation, to encourage the introduction of new technology, to enhance library preservation efforts, and to protect the fair use rights of consumers, and for other purposes."

Current Status: Legislation introduced February 27, 2007. Has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and its Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property subcomittee

9. Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of 2007

10. H.R.4128 Criminal Code Modernization and Simplification Act of 2007

11. H.R. 4789 Performance Rights Act

To provide parity in radio performance rights under title 17, United States Code, and for other purposes.

109th Congress (2005-2006)

1. U.S. Copyright Office Orphan Works Inquiry "The Copyright Office is examining issues raised by "orphan works," i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Concerns have been raised that the uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works in new creative efforts, or from making such works available to the public."

2. Orphan Works Act of 2006

Introduced as a stand-alone bill, HR5439, Bill Summary/Status Copy of Bill (PDF, 55KB)
Legislation introduced May 22, 2006
Passed House Judiciary Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee on May 24, 2006
Has moved to full House Juduciary Committee for consideration Has also been introduced as Title 2 of HR6052, the Copyright Modernization Act of 2006
Bill Summary/Status, Copy of Bill (PDF, 204KB)
HR6052 contains legislative provisions already passed by the Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee so it is also pending in full House Judiciary Committee for Consideration.
The Orphan Works provisions begin on page 6. This amendment would exempt photographs, graphic arts and sculpture from the provisions of the legislation until the United States Copyright Office designs and implement a searchable database for these formats, a task this amendment mandated the USCO do on or before December 1, 2011.

3. Preservation of Orphan Works Act

A technical amendment fixing a problem in Section 108(h-i) of U.S. Copyright Law; the problem had been caused via a drafting error in the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 which prevented films from being eligible for the Section 108(h) exemption. Now, libraries and archives will be allowed to make copyrighted works (including films) available during the final 20 years of that work's copyright, assuming three conditions are met. Here is the Section 108(h-i) text as it stands now after the April 2005 amendment: § 108. Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives... (h)(1) For purposes of this section, during the last 20 years of any term of copyright of a published work, a library or archives, including a nonprofit educational institution that functions as such, may reproduce, distribute, display, or perform in facsimile or digital form a copy or phonorecord of such work, or portions thereof, for purposes of preservation, scholarship, or research, if such library or archives has first determined, on the basis of a reasonable investigation, that none of the conditions set forth in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (2) apply. (2) No reproduction, distribution, display, or performance is authorized under this subsection if -- (A) the work is subject to normal commercial exploitation;
(B) a copy or phonorecord of the work can be obtained at a reasonable price; or
(C) the copyright owner or its agent provides notice pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Register of Copyrights that either of the conditions set forth in subparagraphs (A) and (B) applies.
(3) The exemption provided in this subsection does not apply to any subsequent uses by users other than such library or archives. (i) The rights of reproduction and distribution under this section do not apply to a musical work, a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work, or a motion picture or other audiovisual work other than an audiovisual work dealing with news, except that no such limitation shall apply with respect to rights granted by subsections (b), (c) and (h), or with respect to pictorial or graphic works published as illustrations, diagrams, or similar adjuncts to works of which copies are reproduced or distributed in accordance with subsections (d) and (e).

4. National Film Preservation Act of 2005

Part of Public Law 109-9, the "Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005." Provisions in this new public law involved 1) the National Film Preservation Board, and 2) the National Film Preservation Foundation.

5. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Rulemaking

As part of a periodic review, the Librarian of Congress, on the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, has announced the classes of works subject to the exemption from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. Persons making noninfringing uses of the following six classes of works will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) during the next three years. These new exemptions include: 1) Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university's film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors. More information is available from the Copyright Office. 6. Public Domain Enhancement Act

Would amend title 17, United States Code, to allow abandoned copyrighted works to enter the public domain after 50 years.

If you have questions concerning this page or would like to suggest additional legislative projects for inclusion, please email Stacie Seifrit-Griffin at

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