Call concerning footage to which the National Film Archive - Audiovisual Institute is looking for people entitled to copyrights

The National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute calls on the filmmakers, or their legal successors or other persons who can show documentary evidence of the acquisition of rights to the audiovisual works contained in the list of works, to report to the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute at the electronic address, in writing or directly to the headquarters of the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institutein Warsaw at 3/5 Wałbrzyska Street in order to confirm or disclose their rights.

The National Film Archive's resources contain works of film art and film materials produced in Poland or on Polish territory since 1911, including archival footage from the Second World War.

According to the Act on Cinematography of 30 June 2005 (Dz. U. [Law Monitor] No. 13 item 1111) and the Statute of the National Film Archive, annexed to Ordinance No. 17 of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of 29 April 2008, the National Film Archive bears a statutory duty to promote film culture, including sharing the resources of film art, a duty which is performed by the National Film Archive in addition to its other duties, consisting in particular of maintaining and safeguarding the cultural heritage of Polish cinema.

When performing its statutory responsibilities, the National Film Archive is obliged to act in compliance with applicable copyright and related rights, including respect for the rights of creators and performers of audiovisual works. At the same time, the sharing of tracks from the National Film Archive's resources for television broadcasts is in many cases the only opportunity for the next generation of Poles to become familiar with Polish pre-war film works, which are a valuable part of the national cultural heritage.  

Polish history over the past 100 years has seen world wars, changing socio-political regimes, persecution and emigration. This has resulted in a large part of the resources of the National Film Archive ending up as so-called orphan works, whose authors or other entitled persons are impossible to determine or their fate or their successors' fate is not known. This results in the inability to determine whether the period of copyright protection has already expired for such works.

In order to determine the persons or entities entitled to the copyright of audiovisual works that are such orphan works, the National Film has proceeded to publish on its website the titles of films in respect of which it was hitherto impossible to determine the persons entitled to copyright. 

The list remains open and will be supplemented as more content of the resources is disclosed.  


Since July 2013 the National Film Archive has been a partner of the FORWARD project, which aims to create an automated system for determining the legal status of different types of audiovisual works, including orphan works. The purpose of the system is to find and develop the information needed to define the legal status of audiovisual works. It means that cultural institutions, commercial entities and all other potential users of audiovisual works will receive clear guidance on whether the work is in the public domain, whether it is copyrighted or is an orphan work and under what conditions it can be distributed in Europe. FORWARD will take into account the legal systems of individual countries derived from the adopted Directive on Orphan Works 2012/28/EU.

Thanks to the FORWARD project, the search for orphan works will be clearly structured and the complicated rights clearing procedure simplified. FORWARD will allow access to the huge number of works stored in European archives which are currently inaccessible because of the unclear status of their rights.

FORWARD will be implemented through the cooperation of 13 institutions from 11 European Union countries, including 11 Institutions of Cultural Heritage (FHI) and commercial archives.

The project was launched in July 2013 and ends in June 2016. It is coordinated by the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique and co-financed by the ICT-PSP Community Programme.

More information:

Framework for the EU-wide Audiovisual Orphan Works Registry


A hundred thousand audiovisual works stored in European archives cannot be made available to the public because their status is unclear. These works may not be used in either commercial distribution, or for educational or cultural purposes, for example in the context of digitisation projects. Clarifying the rights to audiovisual works is a complicated process and, at the same time, the resources at the disposal of the archives for identifying and searching for rights holders are limited. The biggest problem is the lack of a solid resource base in European Union countries. FORWARD provides an innovative solution to this problem.


FORWARD will be implemented through the cooperation of 13 institutions from 11 European Union countries, including 11 Institutions of Cultural Heritage (FHI) and commercial archives. European Cultural Heritage Institutions play an essential role in the process of clearing rights as they provide the most comprehensive information resources. Thanks to the direct involvement of ARROW partners, who have developed a comparable system for books, FORWARD and ARROW will be able to work together and they will be available for all users in the Union.

Voluntary deposit

During the 60th International Film Festival in Berlin the Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE)  which brings together European film archives (the National Film Archive has been a member of ACE since March 2009) and the International Federation of Film Producers Association (FIAPF)  which brings together filmmakers from around the world - signed on 21 February 2010 a new Framework Agreement on the voluntary deposit of films and film materials in European film archives.

The agreement amends the model contract for the voluntary deposit of films which was distributed after its drafting by FIAPF in 1971 and is still in use.

FIAPF and ACE have been asked by the European Commission's Information Society and Media Directorate General to update this document and establish cooperation aimed at preserving film heritage, ensuring its distribution and public availability and, at the same time, adapting it to the digital environment and the enlargement of the European Union.

The new framework agreement protects the rights of Producers and Film Archives, based on the mutual recognition that the preservation of the cinematographic heritage and also the better distribution of works are possible only through close cooperation between Producers and Archives.

Producers undertake to promote and support the activities of the Archives which are aimed at the proper Preservation of Deposited Film Materials and the Preservation of Non-Film Materials in the collections of the Archives.

Neither ACE nor FIAPF may impose any obligations on its members. Consequently, the framework agreement will serve as a point of reference for voluntary use by the participants and parties and as the basis for bilateral contracts. Use of the contract is recommended by both associations. However, all concerned should bear in mind that it is a framework agreement, opening the possibility of concluding similar agreements on a domestic level, taking into account the provisions of Polish law.

ACE and FIAPF have developed a template for an agreement on the voluntary deposit of films in the archives. The National Film Archive publishes the Polish translation on its website, encouraging its use. In addition, the National Film Archive also publishes the text of the framework agreement, concluded by ACE and FIAPF, for establishing procedures for the voluntary deposit of films and film materials in the archives.  

ACE-FIAPF – Framework agreement – download [PDF] [91KB]

The text of the template agreement on the voluntary deposit of films – download [PDF] [76.3 KB]


National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute
ul. Wałbrzyska 3/5
02-739 Warszawa
tel. + 48 22 380 49 00
fax: +48 22 380 49 01