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Zapruder Heirs to Receive $16 Million
...and retain publishing rights???

Abraham Zapruder

A three-member arbitration panel decided on July 16, 1999, that the Zapruder family heirs will be paid $16 million by the U.S. government for taking possession of the JFK assassination film taken by Abraham Zapruder.

The announcement of the decision was delayed until August 3. John F. Kennedy, Jr., was killed in a plane crash the same day that the decision was reached.

The arbitration panel's decision cannot be reversed.

The film will remain in climate-controlled conditions at the National Archives center in College Park ... apparently at taxpayer expense.

$16 million amounts to $615,384 per second of film.

US District Judge John R. Tunheim, former chair of the now-defunct Assassination Records Review Board, stated it was "ironic" that the final $16 million award was close to what the Zapruders had proposed in negotiations for both the film and the copyright: $18.5 million.

The three-member arbitration panel was selected: one member chosen by the government; one member chosen by the Zapruder heirs; and the third chosen by the first two.

This week's arbitration decision disclosed that the film earned $878,997 for the family from 1976 through 1997.

The vote for this sum was 2-1. The two arbitrators who approved the award were Arlin M. Adams, a Philadelphia attorney and former US Circuit Court of Appeals judge chosen by his colleagues, and Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington attorney chosen by the Zapruders. In their statement, they said they were "comfortable that the sum of $16 million is a fair and accurate reflection of the true value of the Zapruder film at the time of taking."

They brought in auction house managers from Sotheby's and Christie's to testify. One of the experts said the film "was worth at least $25 million and very possibly more than that ... It could even be double or triple that."

In his dissent, the government-appointed arbitrator, former acting US solicitor general Walter Dellinger, said the true value of the original is "much closer to the $1 million suggested by the government."

LMH Co. - representing the Zapruder heirs - termed the decision as "fair and reasonable."

They also stated that they are "actively pursuing" transfer of the copyright to a public institution that would "continue our policies of proper caretaking on a permanent basis."

Media Coverage

MSNBC just corrected (8/4/99, 12:30pm PDT) the erroneous caption on the Rickerby photograph at the top of their coverage at Zapruder film value at $16 million. (Dead link 12/99)

Zapruder Film Nets $16 Million - Washington Post, 08/04 (Dead link 12/99)

U.S. Will Pay $16 Million for Kennedy Assassination Film - NY Times, 08/04

Kennedy film valued at $16m - BBC, 08/03

U.S. To Pay $16 Million For Kennedy Shooting Film - Reuters, 08/03

Zapruder Heirs To Get $16M for Film - AP, 08/03

Source: Zapruder heirs to get $16 million for JFK assassination video - CNN, 08/03

CNN interviews The Sixth Floor Museum archivist Gary Mack - video clips

Zapruder Film video

Zapruder Film Authenticity Issues

Zapruder Film Background

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