Permissions & Copyright

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Help with Seeking Permissions

When making non-fair use of a reproduction, such as in a book or on a website, you must attain formal permission from the copyright holder. This applies to reproductions of both published and unpublished items. Requesting permission is not necessary when an item is in the public domain. To find out the status of your item, see Cornell University’s helpful webpage on Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States.

Please note that while SCRC owns many of the physical materials in its collections, it usually does not own the copyright to these materials. Hence, SCRC cannot grant permission to make non-fair use of many of its materials.

In all cases, it is the sole responsibility of the user to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission when needed prior to any distribution or publication. For additional help, see the U.S. Copyright Office’s How to Obtain Permission.

U.S. Copyright Law and Archives

The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. 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.

SIU Copyrighted Materials

A small number of collections at SCRC are copyrighted by Southern Illinois University, Board of Trustees. These are sometimes noted in the collection finding aid. Within SIU jurisdiction are many materials in University Archives. For help with the copyright status of these materials, please contact Matthew Gorzalski, University Archivist, at Also, be aware that for some collections where SIU holds copyright donors have placed special restrictions on the use of particular materials. Some of these restrictions are noted in the collection finding aid. Contact SCRC staff for assistance.

Permission to Publish

Researchers who wish to make non-fair use of SIU copyrighted materials must obtain advance permission. Each request is reviewed on a case by case basis and approvals may be subject to a fee, which goes beyond the fee for attaining digital reproductions. If you would like to request permission, please complete the online request form, including the lower section for requesting a reproduction, and explain the nature of the publication in which the reproduction will appear. If permission is granted, you will be required to accompany the reproduction with the credit line: “Used by permission of Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.”