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Ordering Copies of Recordings from Archive of Folk Culture Collections

It is usually possible to order copies of unpublished field recordings from Archive of Folk Culture Collections. In most cases, permissions are not required if you are ordering copies of recordings for private or research purposes, unless the performer was a commercial artist during his or her lifetime. If the recordings are to be used for profit or non-profit publication, (i.e. film, radio or television broadcast, CD, or CD ROM), then you will have to obtain written permission or document your good-faith attempts to do so.

The Library retains no rights regarding the use of recordings in its collections; all such performance rights remain with the performers or their estates. Upon your request, Archive reference staff will consult our files to see whether we have records of previous attempts to contact those performers or estates. We recommend that you send a certified, return-receipt-requested letter to the address that you find or which we supply. Should the letter be returned to you unopened, please forward it (still unopened) to us as proof of your good-faith effort to contact the appropriate persons. Please keep track of all contact attempts that you make. That information kept in our files will constitute documentation of your efforts.

We advise individuals and companies who wish to publish Archive recordings to send us a letter indicating their intention to set aside an appropriate amount, comparable to fees paid to license other such recordings, to cover costs if an appropriate claimant steps forward later. Such a letter in our files will document the individual or company's good-faith attempt to honor performance rights.

After contacting the American Folklife Center Reference Committee to identify specific selections to be duplicated, audio requestors will be referred to the Public Services Office of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division. The Public Services Office serves as the business arm of the M/B/RS Magnetic Recording Laboratory, and, in addition to other outreach services, operates a fee-for-service operation for the duplication of audio and moving image materials.


If you would like to obtain audio copies of material from the Archive of Folk Culture Collections, follow these steps:

  1. Submit your written request to the Reference Committee of the American Folklife Center at the following address:

    American Folklife Center
    c/o Reference Committee
    Library of Congress
    101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
    Washington, D.C. 20540-4610
    email address: [email protected]

    American Folklife Center Reference Committee staff will advise you of any rights restrictions requiring written permission before the audio duplication can proceed, and will discuss audio formats available for duplication (i.e. audio cassette, DAT, open reel.) Refer to the AUDIO TRANSFER RATES and STOCK CHARGES schedule below to review audio formats and costs.

  2. Your request will be forwarded to the Public Services Office, which will mail or fax you an ORDER FOR PHONODUPLICATION SERVICES form listing your order and the cost. Prepayment is required based on the cost estimate and the customer is liable for additional charges should any be incurred.

  3. Complete the Order Form and return it along with your payment by check made out to Library of Congress, MBRS Division or money order in U.S. dollars and permissions document (if applicable) to the address below. (Rush requests should be sent via FedEx, DHL, UPS, or other courier.)

    Library of Congress
    Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division
    Public Services Office
    101 Independence Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC 20540-4690

(Note: International orders require prepayment by check drawn on a U.S. bank or International Money Order in U.S. dollars.)

Phonocopies are made only when the prepaid fee, signed order form, and permissions document(s) (if applicable) are received. The turn-around time for Standard Service is typically 4 to 6 weeks. Rush Service guarantees that your order will be completed within 7 working days. The turn-around time for either service begins when payment has been received.

Shipping costs must be paid by the customer. (If you have a Fedex, DHL, UPS, or other courier account, you may include your account number on the Order Form and waive the shipping charge noted in the cost estimate.)

If you have any questions specifically regarding costs and ordering procedures, please contact the Public Services Office at Tel:(202)707-5623 or Fax:(202)707-2371.


Effective October 19, 1999

All audio copies are made in the Library's Recording Laboratory. Hourly rates are as follows. Note that for all orders except CD-R duplications, stock charges are additional.

Standard Duplication Rate $86.00/hr
Rush Duplication Rate $172.00/hr
Minimum Charge: 15 minutes (with 15 minute increments thereafter) $21.50
Simultaneous Cassette Dubs $8/hr (plus tape stock)
CD-R (Compact Disc Recordable) $203.00/hr
(60 minute minimum includes R-DAT & CD stock)


10-inch open reel $16.00
7-inch open reel $6.50
R-DAT Cassette (120-minutes) $6.50
R-DAT Cassette (60-minutes) $5.00
R-DAT Cassette (30-minutes) $4.50
C-90 Cassette $1.25
C-60 Cassette $1.00
C-30 Cassette $0.90
3/4" Digital (75 minutes) $36.00
3/4" Digital (60 minutes) $25.00
CD Recordable $4.50
Magnetic Optical Disk (2 hours @24 bits) $105.50

Ordinarily, ten 78rpm sides or one LP can be copied in an hour. Special recording services are arranged through the Public Services Office.

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  September 12, 2022
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