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Please note that in all but a few collections (listed below), the Princeton University Library generally owns only the physical materials in its collections, not the copyright to those materials.  In addition, certain images or materials may also be protected by trademark, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other interests not owned or controlled by Princeton University.  The user is solely responsible for determining whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for your intended use of the Library’s materials, and for obtaining all required permissions. (resources below)

In particular, use of the Library’s materials without permission of the copyright holder(s) and in excess of “fair use” may subject the user to copyright infringement liability.  According to the U.S. Copyright Office's Information on Fair Use

“Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use….Courts evaluate fair use claims on a case-by-case basis, and the outcome of any given case depends on a fact-specific inquiry. This means that there is no formula to ensure that a predetermined percentage or amount of a work—or specific number of words, lines, pages, copies—may be used without permission.”

Users take sole responsibility for determining whether their use of the Library’s materials is “fair.”  Note also that while “fair use” is a defense to copyright infringement, “fair use” is not a defense to claims of violation of privacy or publicity rights.  

The Library expects its patrons to act in accordance with all applicable laws and to respect the rights of third parties.  The user of Princeton University Library materials agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless Princeton University (including the Library and any University officers, agents, and employees) against all liabilities, claims, demands, costs and expenses, including but not limited to claims related to copyright infringement, trademark, invasion of rights of privacy or publicity, or libel, that arise from or relate to the user’s use of the Library’s facilities or materials (including the reproduction or publication of those materials).


Not all images are available for reproduction because of copyright, access restrictions, and conservation considerations. It is the policy of the Princeton University Library that its images may not be manipulated as to alter their meaning and that their integrity must be retained. Particular Princeton images may not be combined with other images, whether from Princeton or other sources. Images must be reproduced in their entirety. If only details of images are reproduced, this fact must be clearly indicated. Reproduction of Princeton materials from halftones found in print publications will generally not result in satisfactory image quality and is therefore strongly discouraged. 


The Department of Special Collections is the copyright holder for the following collections in the Manuscripts Division.*

For these collections, the library asks for a formal request for the reproduction or broadcast of materials housed in the Department of Special Collections. To submit a request, please use the Publication & Broadcast Form

*To determine if a collection housed in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library has a copyright held by Princeton University see the Access and Use section of the collection's Finding Aid. If copyright is held by Princeton University, you will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with publishing materials from the Mudd Library.  


WATCH Files: Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders is a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields. The database is administered by the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin.

U.S. Copyright Office DatabaseThe U.S. Copyright Office maintains a public database for copyright information on works registered with the Copyright Office after January 1, 1978. 

If you have any question about who might be the appropriate copyright holder within a specific collection, please feel free to contact us.

For materials held at RBSC Firestone, contact:

For materials held at the Mudd Manuscript Library, contact: