Oral History – next-of-kin release agreement

Searching for permission to a restricted oral history, while never fun, is sometimes necessary if that interview is to have continued research value.  We fashioned this template to use for attempts to contact next-of-kin in situations where the interviewer and interviewee have passed away and there is either no documentation or explicit restrictions on the collection or interview.

Participant’s name:

Next of kin:

Address of next of kin:

Phone/email of next of kin:

I have been informed that the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds an oral history interview conducted by [INTERVIEWER or INSTITUTION] with [PARTICIPANT’S NAME] on [DATE]. As next of kin, I [NAME, RELATIONSHIP] have been informed of the restrictions currently limiting use of the interview, and hereby release the interview from those restrictions.  I acknowledge that the Library acquires oral history interviews with the intent of making them available to users, according to Library policies and procedures and through means deemed appropriate by the Library, for an ongoing or indefinite period of time.  I understand that to accomplish this, the Library may create derivatives of the interview, including but not limited to:

  • preservation master copies and user copies of the recording and transcript
  • reformatted copies of the recording and transcript that meet changing technological and archival standards

Copyright and Licensing

Copyrights and rights of reproduction in and to these materials will be governed by United States copyright law.


  • ______I hereby transfer this work to the public domain.  I fully understand that this interview will not be copyrighted by me or the Library, but will be immediately placed in the public domain.  This decision is intended to provide maximum usage by future researchers.
  • ______I hereby transfer copyright to the Library, which grants me a non-exclusive license for the complete and unrestricted right to reproduce, publish, broadcast, transmit, perform or adapt the interview.
  • ______I retain the copyright to this interview and grant a non-exclusive license to the Library, for distribution to the public for non-commercial, educational purposes, in formats and settings that include, but are not limited to, print and electronic publications, events and exhibitions, internet websites, classrooms, and online. The Library may direct patrons requesting to use the interview for commercial purposes or purposes not allowed under Fair Use (Section 107, Title 17, U.S. Copyright Code), to the following address:




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