2.5 Archival Rights and Responsibilities over Collections

Archives need to have the right to be able to preserve recordings for the future. In order to do so, they need to be able to obtain copies of commercial recordings without copy codes that prevent duplication. It is to be hoped that archival collections will endure beyond existing copyright periods—but if the sounds and images cannot be migrated to future carriers, they will become inaccessible (see also the IASA Policy Statement on Copyright & Other Intellectual Property Rights1).

Sound and audiovisual archives face enormous financial costs in the storage, transfer, and migration of their collections. Copyright legislation, copy protection software, and the music business are additional challenges. The large number of “orphan works” in the 20th century whose owner is not known as well as unresponsive copyright holders gives an indication of the problems to be encountered in the future with current recordings. Without data migration, most recording formats in the early 21st century will be unplayable in a few decades. IASA takes an active position on the importance of legislative and software changes that enable archives to do their part in enriching the cultural life of the future by preserving the life of the past and present. Therefore, it will also be the responsibility of archives to stay informed of legal developments in their respective countries regarding issues such as orphan works.

The ongoing costs faced by sound and audiovisual archives justify, in specific cases, charging fees for access and defining the details of access policies in accordance with their budgets, staff, and missions.

Sound and audiovisual archives have an obligation to keep their employees updated on the best practices and processes related to their activities so they can act effectively and ethically in preservation, documentation, and access.

1. http://www.iasa-web.org/copyright-other-intellectual-property-rights