Tracking down copyright holders
In order to release or copy material from the collection for clients, the NFSA needs to receive written permission from the copyright holder.
Seeking this permission from the copyright holder is the responsibility of the client and our staff will give you any information we have to assist with the search. However, the information in our records may have been provided many years ago, so further research by the client to find the copyright holder may be necessary. To assist in the search, the NFSA has compiled an information sheet on tracking down copyright holders.
The NFSA rarely owns copyright in works in the national collection and is therefore obliged to observe the rights of a large number of copyright holders. Like many other archives, museums, galleries and libraries, in Australia and overseas, the NFSA inevitably faces problems dealing with the many orphan works in its collection.
Orphan works are works which are, or are likely to be, protected by copyright and where it has been impossible to identify, locate or contact the copyright owner. The use of such works without a licence or permission from the copyright owner, where a copyright exception is not otherwise available, would therefore be an infringement of copyright. In terms of audiovisual collections, orphan works include sound recordings or films where copyright may be expired in the work as a whole, but rights may continue to subsist in the underlying works (such as in the script or music accompanying the film).
Download: Statement on Orphan Works