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Patron Guide to Copyright and Historical Materials

About Copyright and the Collections

Whenever possible, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides information about copyright owners in its catalog or metadata records. The Library generally does not own rights in its collections and cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. The Library does not charge permission or usage fees for the use of its materials.

Reproduction, distribution, or screening (in the case of motion pictures) of protected items beyond U.S. Copyright Law's fair use provisions requires the copyright owner's written permission. The copyright owner may require permission and fees independent of the Library. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or distributing materials found in the Library's collections.

Patrons must make their own rights assessment in light of the intended use. The nature of historical archival collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or impossible to determine. The Library provides information as a service to aid patrons in determining the appropriate use of an item, but that determination ultimately rests with the patron.

The National Library of Medicine wants to hear from any copyright owners not properly identified on this website so that we can provide accurate information to patrons. Please contact us at NLM Customer Support.