Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images (1980)

Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, audio and video recordings, contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Preface: The Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO (21th Session), Belgrade, 23 Sept.-28 Oct., 1980. The adoption by the UNESCO General Conference in October 1980 of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images marked a historic moment when film, television and sound recordings became officially recognized and defined as part of the national cultural heritage in the same way textual information had been regarded for centuries.

Moving images are representative of the cultural identity of a people and as such have historic, cultural, and artistic value. The Recommendation notes the extreme vulnerability of moving images because of the materials they are composed of and the need to maintain them under very specific technical conditions. Deterioration, accident, and “unwarranted disposal” have already led to the loss of some of the world’s moving image heritage. States are asked to take measures to protect moving images, just as they do other cultural property within their care. The Recommendation proposes greater international cooperation.

Transcending language and cultural boundaries, appealing immediately to the eye and the ear, to the literate and illiterate, audiovisual documents have transformed society by becoming a permanent complement to the traditional written record.

However, they are extremely vulnerable and it is estimated that we have no more than 10 to 15 years to transfer audiovisual records to digital to prevent their loss. Much of the world’s audiovisual heritage has already been irrevocably lost through neglect, destruction, decay and the lack of resources, skills, and structures, thus impoverishing the memory of mankind. Much more will be lost if stronger and concerted international action is not taken.

It was in this context, that the General Conference in 2005 approved the commemoration of a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage as a mechanism to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.





The General Conference of UNESCO (21th Session), Belgrade, 23 Sept.-28 Oct., 1980


  • It considers that moving images are an expression of the cultural identity of peoples, and because of their educational, cultural, artistic, scientific and historical value, form an integral part of a nation’s cultural heritage.
  • Bearing in mind the terms of the Universal Copyright Convention, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, it desires to supplement and extend the application of the standards and principles laid down in these conventions and recommendations.




Intellectual Property


About Sunney 116 Articles
I am currently a Professor of Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.