Copyright at USU

Utah State University Logo

Using Special Collections

Traditionally, Special Collections and Archives house both secondary and primary source material. Both types of material fall under U.S. copyright restrictions. An excellent source for figuring out the copyright status of an item has been created by Peter Hirtle at Cornell University This chart is especially pertinent for primary source (unpublished) material. In addition, visual material may fall under the 1991 Visual Artists Rights Act. The onus for proper use of the material falls upon the researcher.

Most Special Collections will ask the researcher to fill out a registration form that lists the repository's regulations for use of the material. In order to obtain copies of material held in a Special Collection repository, the user will be required to fill out a copy order form. Likewise, in order to publish material from the repository, especially items in their totality, a researcher will be required to fill out a permission to publish form (see USU examples below). In some cases there may be commercial use fees attached to publication requests. These forms all state that the researcher understands that the material falls under copyright regulation and that the researcher is responsible for receiving permission from the copyright holder before publication or other use.