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Historical Collections Copyright Information

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyright material found in NLM historical collections, which include Books and Journals, Digital Manuscripts, Archives and Modern Manuscripts, Prints and Photographs, and Films and Videos. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by “fair use” requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Users of material found in NLM historical collections are under obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing this material.

NLM historical collections reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of the copyright law.

Credit Line

If using any material from Historical collections for publication or production, please include the phrase: “Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine."

For more information about fair use, copyright in general, and how to initiate a copyright search, contact the U.S. Copyright Office at (202) 707-5959 or visit

Specific Copyright Information

Digital Manuscripts (Profiles in Science)

Most of the digital material in Profiles in Science is protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Whenever possible, we have provided information about the copyright owner of each document; this information appears in the “Rights” section of each metadata record. In some cases, it has not been possible to determine the current copyright owner. If you have information indicating who the copyright owner may be for these items, please contact us at the NLM Support Center.

Prints and Photographs

The Image database (IHM), is a catalog of the prints and photographs collection of the NLM. The purpose of the database is to assist users in finding illustrative material for private study, scholarship, and research. The NLM does not own the copyright to the images in the database, nor do we charge access or permission fees for their use.

Films and Videos

Films and videos in the NLM Historical Audiovisuals Collection may be duplicated if there are no donor restrictions, and if they are determined to be in the public domain or if written permission from the copyright holder has been received by collection Curator. The NLM does not own the copyright to the films and videos in the collection, nor do we charge access or permission fees for their use.

Online Exhibitions

Images used in online exhibitions come from a variety of sources and are protected by the U.S. Copyright Law. Please contact the History of Medicine Division’s reference desk for further assistance at NLM Customer Support or at 301-402-8878.

Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives

The exhibition Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of the history of public health issues specifically those dealing with domestic violence. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Please see for more information about fair use.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Last Reviewed: May 17, 2018