FAQ – Harold M. Stein Memorial Filk Archive

Our mission statement is to preserve historical filk in all its forms and get it back into the hands of fans. We will always be respectful to the copyright holders, and the rights of the performers and archivists who created this media. Please be respectful and do not illicitly copy materials from the archive.

Why now?

Fans around the world are calling out for access to classic filk. Whether it’s an older tape they played too many times, a fanzine they contributed to and lost track of, or just a desire for discovery, we’re seeing calls from places as diverse as academia,  Reddit, and  Tumblr, looking for older resources.

The second, sadder part of that question is that the untimely death of Harold Stein put these materials into the hands of people who wanted to organize them and put them somewhere where they could be seen. Thanks to the efforts of our staff and volunteers, that will soon be a reality.

How can I help now?

Please go and listen to clips and identify songs on our crowd sourced page on Zooniverse. The more you identify, the better the Archive will be.

If you’re in the Northeast corridor and want to help out with scanning, audio digitization and the other physical tasks of the archive, please use our Contact form to let us know and we can book some time to have you help out.

When can I listen to everything?

As stated above, everything is complicated. There are living copyright holders and performers too numerous to contact. However, we have some ways to make sure you can listen to the collection that Harold and others have amassed. 

The long term goal is to create a lending library of items that can be taken out for a short period of time. This will help us to allow fans to discover hidden treasures of the filk world. We can also provide specific files on a one-off basis, to replace tapes, and other beloved items with digital copies. We can do this right away if you were a contributor to that asset (performer, engineer, writer, etc.) or on a vetted basis for collectors.

What happened to the old Filk Archive? The one where I could download MP3s? Is it coming back?

The short answer is that the old site was hacked, and it has been restored. You can visit the UK Filk Archive at http://www.filkarchive.org.uk/

If I want to give blanket permission to share my recordings, who do I contact?

If you want to make a blanket permission (say, “you have free use of all my recordings prior to 1984”) you can send that in via our Contact form. It’s important to remember that just because one person gives permission, that doesn’t mean we’re free and clear to distribute a recording. In order to do mass distribution, we’d need full permissions from everyone involved.

While we are in the business of restoring and digitizing as much as we can, distribution is still up to the copyright holders. Think of this archive more like a lending library, than a filk production house.


A list of tracks on tapes - hand-trascribed
Preservation of physical media
Digital data retrieval
Preservation of files from Harold’s archive
DAT digital records
Preserving and mirroring digital files

Boxes of tapes