National Film Preservation
About the Board
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
Legislative Documents for Public Law
TITLE III, Subtitle A--National Film Preservation Act
- 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
- Annual authorization maintained at $250,000 per year through
TITLE III, Subtitle B--National Film Preservation Foundation
Reauthorization Act of 2005
- Congress created the 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
- 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
- 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
- For more information on the Foundation, visit its Web page
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.
- View H.R.
1734 (Public Law 104-285) “The National Film Preservation
Act of 1996” (passed by Congress on September 28, 1996
and signed by President Clinton on October 11, 1996.) via THOMAS (Legislative
Information on the Internet).