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National Film Preservation Board

About the Board

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Legislative Authorization

Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-446), the National Film Preservation Board was reauthorized in 1992 for four years (Public Law 102-307), again in 1996 for an additional seven years (Public Law 104-285), which also created the federally-chartered private sector National Film Preservation Foundation, once more in April 2005 for four years (Public Law 109-009), and most recently in October 2009 for seven years (Public Law 110-336).

Legislative Documents for Public Law 110-336

Legislative Documents for Public Law 109-009

Key Features of Public Law 109-009

TITLE III, Subtitle A--National Film Preservation Act of 2005

  • Members of the National Film Preservation Board serve as an advisory body to the Librarian of Congress, counseling the Librarian on 1) the annual selection of films to the National Film Registry and 2) national film preservation planning policy.
  • Librarian (advised by Board) will continue implementation of the national film preservation plan and make any necessary updates. This is a continuation of the work already begun under the auspices of the National Film Preservation Board: the study done in 1993, and the national plan in 1994. Both were accomplished by a consensus of the major film studios, the archives, the educational community, and other key players in the film and film preservation communities.
  • The Librarian/Board will continue to select up to 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films” each year for the National Film Registry. To be eligible, films must be at least 10 years old, though they need not be feature-length or have had a theatrical release in order to be considered. The legislation’s intent is that the broadest possible range of films be eligible for consideration.
  • The Librarian will continue to obtain archival material (including preprint elements) on National Film Registry titles for collection in the Library of Congress.
  • Increases the size of the Board by adding on two at-large members. The Board will now contain 22 members and 22 alternates.
  • Calls for close coordination with activities of the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. Urges expanded initiatives to ensure the preservation of the moving image heritage of the United States, including film, videotape, television, and born digital moving image formats, by supporting the work of the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation of the Library of Congress, and other appropriate nonprofit archival and preservation organizations.
  • Annual authorization maintained at $250,000 per year through 2009.

TITLE III, Subtitle B--National Film Preservation Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2005

  • Congress created the National Film Preservation Foundation via the 1996 legislation. The Foundation, an independent, non-profit charity affiliated with the National Film Preservation Board, raises private funds to help American archives preserve films and make them publicly available.
  • The Foundation's primary mission is to save orphan films — those without owners able to pay for their preservation. The films most at-risk are newsreels, silent films, experimental works, films out of copyright protection, significant amateur footage, documentaries, and features made outside the commercial mainstream. Orphan films are the living record of the twentieth century. Hundreds of American museums, archives, libraries, universities, and historical societies care for “orphaned” original film materials of cultural value. The Foundation will work with these film preservation organizations to preserve orphan films and make them accessible to “present and future generations of Americans.”
  • The Foundation is eligible to receive federal matching funds of $530,000 per year from 2005 through 2009. This money must be used for preservation projects. None of these federal funds can be spent on management and general or fundraising expenses as reported to the Internal Revenue Service as part of an annual information return required under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  • Increases the size of the Foundation’s Board of Directors from 9 to 12.The twelve members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors are appointed. A Director is no longer limited as the number of terms he/she may serve. by the Librarian of Congress and serve four-year terms. Two of the Directors also sit on the National Film Preservation Board. The Librarian is a non-voting Board member. Directors are not financially compensated for their services.

Title IV: Preservation of Orphan Works Act

Makes revisions to Section 108 of U.S. Copyright Law, which will allow libraries and archives (under certain conditions) to make copyrighted works (including films) available during the final 20 years of that work’s copyright.

Other legislative history
Legislative Documents for Public Law 104-285

Legislative Documents for Public Law 102-307

Legislative Documents for Public Law 100-446

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( March 10, 2014 )
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