Recording Agreement

Recording agreements currently in use follow a standard pattern. The only variation tends to be in the range of options (if any) offered to interviewees.

Some interviewees will only agree to be interviewed, and to sign a licence or assignment of rights, if they can

Such options can be included on the agreement with boxes to tick, or can be added in writing, but complicated or long-term restrictions should be avoided. Consideration should be given to how contact information is to be kept up to date if a requirement for consultation is specified (such as next-of-kin details). All closure and restrictions end dates should be clearly defined.

Although access restrictions often serve little purpose except to make extra work, they may be appropriate or even essential when interviews contain sensitive personal, confidential or defamatory references. Custodians may decide to impose access restrictions even if not required to do so by the interviewee.

In the case of commercially produced or published recordings and videos, rights owners (typically TV channels or production companies) are unlikely to wish to assign rights to custodians, but a written licence should be obtained to clarify the uses which are permitted.

Sample Recording Agreement

British Library leaflet on depositing an oral history interview: download here

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