Use, Reproduction, and Publication of Materials

The University of Virginia Law Library is committed to supporting research, teaching, scholarship, publication, and artistic production involving use of the Library’s Special Collections materials. To remove barriers to such uses, it is not necessary to seek the Library’s permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use materials that the Library has made available online from its collections. This applies whether your use is non-commercial or commercial.

The materials available within this and our other Digital Collections, unless otherwise stated, are available for use under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

for any purpose, even commercially. The Library requires users of these materials to attribute, by giving appropriate credit, the Library as the materials' holding institution.

Special Collections must always be cited as the source of text or images when published or otherwise distributed. For most of our collections objects, it is sufficient for users to provide the following creative commons attribution in close proximity to the licensed image or text:

  • CC BY Image courtesy of University of Virginia Law Library

Where this citation method is not possible, you may wish to add the attributions in a formal list of illustrations, in a notes section, or film's end credits. To do so, you may use the citation method below. For example:

  • [item title], [Collection Title], [Repository Name]

In addition, the Library requests, where possible, that users of the materials

  • include, if you are publishing online, in the citation or caption a hyperlink to the reprinted image’s corresponding webpage, and
  • that users inform us of any publications that do come out using our content, and
  • that users send us a copy of the publication for our collections.

Further Rights Assessment

The Library's consent as the owner of the rare original materials does not address copyright issues that may affect publication rights. Although images posted by the Library are believed to have no known U.S. copyright or other restrictions -- or copyright has been ceded to the library and the library offers the materials for use under CC BY -- it is the sole responsibility of the user or recipient of copies of Special Collections' materials to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission where needed prior to any distribution or publication. If the text or image in question is under copyright, permission to publish must be sought from the owners of the rights, typically the creator or the heirs to his or her estate unless covered by the principle of “fair use.” Copyright law protects unpublished as well as published materials. Any use of Special Collections images or materials is subject to the user or recipient’s agreement to indemnify and hold harmless the University of Virginia, its officers, employees and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions and expenses. By your use of these materials, you agree to these responsibilities, including the noted legal protections of the University of Virginia.

If questions arise concerning the small number of collections for which the University of Virginia does own copyright (generally noted in the catalog records or online guides) or for materials in the University of Virginia School of Law Archives, please contact Special Collections.

Further, some library donors have placed restrictions on the use of Special Collections materials that must be honored. Such restrictions are generally noted in the catalog records or online guides to Special Collections materials, and Library staff will provide informational assistance in these cases.

Special Collections no longer provides signed letters of permission or signs other permission forms as our online material are offered through a creative commons license.