Archaeology of the Final Decade (“AOTFD”) is a non-profit curatorial platform founded in 2010 by Vali Mahlouji. The platform excavates and researches histories of nations condemned by social displacement, cultural annihilation or deliberate disappearance. AOTFD engages with accounts of culture which have been lost through material destruction, acts of censorship, political, economic or human contingencies. A core aim of AOTFD is the identification, investigation and re-circulation of significant cultural and artistic materials that have remained obscure, under-exposed, endangered, banned or purposefully destroyed, and the reintegration of these materials into cultural memory, counteracting the damages of censorship and historical erasure. AOTFD brings international attention to artists whose work has been neglected due to historical circumstances and assists cultural institutions in identifying and acquiring these works for their permanent public collections.

AOTFD has unearthed the banned archives of the Festival of Arts, Shiraz–Persepolis, and is working to digitise the collection and make it accessible to the public via the Internet and physical exhibitions at global art institutions. AOTFD holds these digital works but their respective creators or owners retain their copyright until the items lapse from copyright protection.

Because of the relatively short time period between the creation of the records and their retention at AOTFD, the majority of the collection is still covered by one or more copyrights. As an organisation that wishes to employ best practices, AOTFD respects the rights of the copyright holder(s) and has a series of policies and procedures in place to ensure their rights are not infringed upon through AOTFD’s programmes and functions by others.

AOTFD acknowledges that the creator, author or assignee of an original work retains the copyright for a fixed duration as set out in applicable copyright law. These rights allow the owner to licence, grant, and restrict access to the work as well as the right to format the work across media including digitisation. For AOTFD to make its collections available to the public it acknowledges it must do so subject to the terms of relevant copyright laws.

Where AOTFD retains the rights to material it has produced, AOTFD will ensure the material is made available to the public by the most open license as reasonably possible. Where the rights are retained by AOTFD and any third party, AOTFD has or will obtain the relevant permissions from third parties and signed authorisations from copyright holders before making the works available. To meet this commitment AOTFD has adopted the Creative Commons licencing schedule and will licence the use of copyrighted works accordingly. If AOTFD is unable to obtain the necessary permission or authorisations, it will only make the deposited works available at its physical locations in Hong Kong or New York.

For works with no known copyright, or works where the rights holder(s) is untraceable (orphan works), AOTFD will make best efforts to locate and clear any rights subsisting in the work. If these efforts do not result in the locating of the rights holder(s), AOTFD will (in its sole discretion) decide if the work will be made available to the public and will bear the sole burden in the event of any claim of copyright infringement.

All deposited works, with known and traceable copyright holder(s), made available through AOTFD’s digital channels (website, applications, API, promotional materials) will have signed authorisations from the rights holder(s) giving AOTFD the right to make these available. If AOTFD is unable to obtain authorisation to make a work available online it will be restricted to access of the deposited work via AOTFD’s physical locations (London).

AOTFD will not knowingly distribute, modify, or allow unauthorised access to copyrighted works in its collection without the authorisation of the rights holder(s).

If AOTFD wishes to use copyrighted works in any use beyond its existing agreements with the rights holder(s) it will obtain a new authorisation in writing.

Any requests for permission to access a copyrighted work by a third party beyond the existing AOTFD authorisations will be referred back to the rights holder(s).

In the event of a reasonable complaint relating to the copyright subsisting in a work, AOTFD will immediately remove the digital item from web-based access until it (in its sole discretion) has ascertained whether the copyright claim is valid based on documentary support provided to AOTFD. If the copyright claim is deemed to be valid by AOTFD, AOTFD will either make best efforts to obtain permission to make the work available or restrict access to the deposited works on-site only. If AOTFD deems the claim to be frivolous it will be in AOTFD’s sole decision to allow access to the work as well as the level of access to be given to the work.

On the lapsing of the copyright protection AOTFD will make the works available as in the public domain ‘without copyright’ protection. AOTFD will not assert any copyright through the acts such as digitisation, migration across formats or platforms, or other ‘sweat of the brow’ measures which could create a new copyright in the work. Where a new copyright is justified, AOTFD will licence such work under the appropriate Creative Commons licencing regime.