Ownership Of Zapruder Film Passes To Government
Stalemate on compensation for family continues
By Terry Frieden/CNN
WASHINGTON (July 31) -- Despite stalled talks on the government purchase of the Zapruder film, ownership of the most famous visual record of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy officially passes to the National Archives Saturday.
Justice Department sources admit a continuing stalemate with the Zapruder family over what constitutes a "fair price" for the historic 1963 film. But by law, the JFK Assassination Records Collection at the National Archives owns the film effective Aug. 1.
Archives officials say as a practical matter the ownership change is merely a paper shuffle, and the much-studied film will not be moved. The 35-year-old film is already located in a climate-controlled vault at the Archives.
Copies of the film may be viewed upon request at the National Archives facility in College Park, Md.
The Justice Department is currently talking with the Zapruder family about submitting the price dispute to arbitration, Justice Department sources say.
Officials familiar with the talks say the Zapruders have asked for $18.5 million for the film. The government has formally offered $750,000 in compensation but indicated it would consider paying up to $3 million.
Both sides agree the film should belong to, and be available to, the American people.
The JFK Review Board selected Aug. 1 for the official transfer more than a year ago, expecting that would allow sufficient time to resolve the legal issues in the case. The board is scheduled to permanently close on Sept. 30 in accordance with a 1992 Act of Congress.
All JFK records and film will be controlled by other National Archives officials.