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National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-474 (2000).


The Act affirmed the nation’s collective interest in preserving sound recordings for posterity; and, to promote greater public awareness of the issues involved, established the Library of Congress' National Recording Preservation Board and the National Recording Registry.

The Act also directed that the Librarian of Congress, "implement a comprehensive national sound recording preservation program . . ." with a specific responsibility to "undertake studies and investigations of sound recording preservation activities as needed, including the efficacy of new technologies, and recommend solutions to improve these practices."

The Act established, under the purview of the Library of Congress, the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) and a National Recording Registry to maintain and preserve sound recordings that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The recordings are selected by the Librarian of Congress.[1]

The Act also authorized that a study on sound recording preservation and restoration be prepared for Congress that reports on the following issues: (1) The current state of sound recording archiving, preservation and restoration activities. (2) Taking into account the research and other activities carried out by or on behalf of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center[2] at Culpeper, Virginia — (A) the methodology and standards needed to make the transition from analog "open reel" preservation of sound recordings to digital preservation of sound recordings; and (B) standards for access to preserved sound recordings by researchers, educators, and other interested parties. (3) The establishment of clear standards for copying old sound recordings (including equipment specifications and equalization guidelines). (4) Current laws and restrictions regarding the use of archives of sound recordings, including recommendations for changes in such laws and restrictions to enable the Library of Congress and other nonprofit institutions in the field of sound recording preservation to make their collections available to researchers in a digital format. (5) Copyright and other laws applicable to the preservation of sound recordings.

Study of the state of recorded sound preservation[]

The study of the state of recorded sound preservation in the United States has been completed. This was the first comprehensive, national-level study of the state of sound recording preservation ever conducted in the United States. The National Recording Preservation Board commissioned four ancillary studies, enlisting specialists in law and history. Three of those studies addressed copyright and related issues central to the protection and preservation of commercial and unpublished sound recordings, as well as public access; the fourth study investigated the poor survival rates in the marketplace of recordings of historic significance, dating back to the nineteenth century. These subsidiary studies developed reliable supporting and statistical information where none previously existed. All of these documents are included in The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age.


  1. Act, §124.
  2. Subsequently designated in 2005 as the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation.