2.1.1 Acquisition by Recording

As long as archives’ employees record performances for preservation and dissemination, their activities are similar to those of anthropologists and folklorists who do their own collecting. Aspects of their collection activities are addressed, for example, in the Ethics Statement of the American Anthropological Association, as well as in similar statements for the fields of folklore, ethnomusicology, and other areas of research that rely on audiovisual documentation.

The paramount responsibility of archives’ employees lies with the people they record. If there is a conflict of interests, the interests of recorded performers (who are in some cases also creators of content) must always come first. Specifically documentary recording shall observe personal rights of those intentionally and to some extent also accidentally recorded. Recordings for commercial and broadcast archives may be undertaken within the bounds of appropriate legislation, however archives must recognize the possibility that other rights and responsibilities may apply.

Since recordings made of performers for archives are meant for long-term preservation and dissemination, an explicit agreement between the performers and the archive (or recordist) is necessary in order to provide for proper management of the collection. This agreement should document permission to record the performance (event or situation), to preserve it over the long term, and specify whatever intentions there may be regarding access and potential dissemination.

Such an agreement should transfer the rights to safeguard and provide access to the materials to the archive. Without such a document, the materials will be ethically difficult to justify, preserve, and access.