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Oral History Project Guide: Rights Management

This guide describes how to plan and implement an oral history project.


Everyone associated with the project owns rights based on their contribution.  People performing the following tasks may also need to sign release forms to prevent issues of copyright from stalling the project:

  • interviewer;
  • the person(s) interviewed;
  • videographer (if filming);
  • recording assistant;
  • transcriptionist (if out sourcing);
  • web page designer;
  • social media/publicity specialist.

Literary Executors

In the event the interview or other participants are unable to approve other uses associated with their work, you may want to suggest they appoint a literary executor.  A Literary Executor is someone who is authorized to handle any copyright approvals associated with another's body of work.  Some people commonly asked to perform this service may include:

  • spouses;
  • parents;
  • siblings;
  • a family relative;
  • lawyers.