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Permission to Publish Policy

  1. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine the copyright status of materials in the Archives & Special Collections Library.  Resources such as the WATCH File, and the U.S. Copyright Office, may be helpful in making this determination.  The Library will share information it has about copyright holders.  
  2. Researchers do not need to obtain permission to use materials in the public domain.  Cornell University’s online “Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States” is a helpful resource for understanding what is in the public domain.
  3. Researchers are responsible for contacting copyright holders to obtain permission for use.
  4. Researchers should note that in most cases, the Archives & Special Collections Library does not hold the copyright for material in its collections.  In these cases, it cannot grant or deny permission to use them. 
  5. The Archives & Special Collections Library can grant permission to use materials when Vassar College is the copyright holder.  In these cases, the researcher should contact the Library to request a license form and to learn about any use fees that may apply.  It should be noted that when granting permission to publish, the Library retains its own right to publish the material, and to grant permission to others to publish it.
  6. Whether or not the Vassar College is the copyright holder, the Library may charge a duplication fee to create scans or other copies of materials.  This process is explained further in the Library’s Duplication Policy.
  7. Researchers should be aware that a “fair use” exception is contained in the federal copyright law which allows limited use of materials for non-commercial purposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, and news reporting.  Researchers are responsible for determining if their use falls under the “fair use” guidelines.  The U.S. Copyright Office is a source for further information on this topic. 
  8. Researchers should further note that, apart from copyright, individuals possess privacy and publicity rights that are subject to state laws.  In some cases therefore, researchers will need to secure the consent not only of copyright holders of materials, but also of third parties who may be represented in them.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to address the issues of privacy and publicity in their use of materials.
  9. Regardless of whether the Archives & Special Collections Library holds copyright, users should cite it as the owner of materials, by listing the collection, the library, and the college, as in the following example:  Mary McCarthy Papers, Archives & Special Collections Library, Vassar College.

Revised November 2012