The Archive was established as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 1987, and as such keeps audited accounts and makes annual returns to the Companies Office in Dublin.

The Archive was also registered as a Scientific Society for the promotion of 'Science, Literature, or the Fine Arts' by the Registrar of Friendly Societies in 1990. The Archive was recognised by the Revenue Commissioners in 1991 as a Charity (CHY 9283), and as an Approved Body under the gifting terms of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, which allows certain gifts to the Archive to qualify for tax relief (click here for further information).

Copyright and the Archive

Strict adherence to the Irish laws of copyright is central to the operations of the Archive and crucial to its future development. Copyright law is very complex, but observance of it maintains the integrity of the Archive and safeguards the rights of the performers, collectors and publishers whose material forms the collection. The Archive provides copying services (photocopying, audio-visual recording and photography) insofar as its resources and copyright law allow, and subject to a standard fee. The Archive does not have the resources to carry out research for people, but visitors to the library may make their own copies, within the bounds of the law. For items that are in copyright Irish copyright law applies as follows:

  • For commercial use, you must obtain written permission from the copyright holder before a copy can be made. It is irrelevant if the publisher is no longer in business – the copyright is still held by someone. The Archive will furnish any information it holds regarding the copyright holder but it is up to individuals to obtain permission themselves.
  • For private use or study of unpublished material (sound recordings, photographs, theses, etc.), written permission must be obtained from the copyright holder.
  • For private use or study of published material (books or serials), you can copy up to 10% of a book or one article from a serial. Usually therefore it is legally possible to copy words of a song or notes of a tune from a published print source. However, it is not possible to copy audio or visual published recordings for private use or study – in this instance also you must obtain written copyright clearance.

When an item is legally out of copyright copies may be made as Archive resources permit.