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Permissions to Use or Publish materials from the SSC

Requesting Permission to Publish

Written permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection for use of quotations beyond “fair use”; for publishing or reproducing documents, images, or audiovisual content; or for publication and/or broadcast of content in any form, including print, exhibitions, Web sites, film, video, audio, or any electronic media produced for public distribution. Permission must also be obtained from the copyright owner if the SSC does not own copyright. Note that even if the SSC does not own copyright, or the material has passed into public domain, researchers must still obtain permission from the SSC, as the owners of the physical property.

Content may be quoted in course papers or class presentations without prior permission. If you are citing materials, please give proper attribution of the source (see Terms of Use page for citation forms).

Content made available on our Web site may be downloaded or printed for purposes of private study, scholarship, and research without prior permission.

To obtain permission to publish quotations, submit your request in writing to the Sophia Smith Collection. Your request should include the portion of your text in which the quote is used and the citation for the quote. There are no fees for publishing quotations or excerpts.

To obtain permission for use of image reproductions or audiovisual materials, see Photographs and Audiovisual Materials. Additional permission fees will be charged for publishing images and audiovisuals.

Whether for quotations or reproductions, permission must also be obtained from the copyright owner. If the SSC does not own copyright, permission is still required from the SSC as owners of physical property. We will provide whatever information we can on how to identify the copyright owner (see below). It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and obtain all copyright permissions.

How to determine if a work is under copyright or in the public domain:

Both published and unpublished materials are protected by copyright for limited terms, depending on the creation or publication date. Even if the creator is deceased, copyright may be transfered to their heirs or assigns. Once the copyright term expires, the material is in the public domain.

If you know the creation date of the work, you can consult the Copyright Term and the Public Domain table at Cornell University.

How to identify the copyright holder

The SSC will provide whatever information we have regarding copyright holders but it is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and obtain permissions. Sometimes copyright is transferred to the Sophia Smith Collection when collections are donated. But most collections include materials created by third-party individuals and copyright may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Sometimes the copyright owner is unknown, or impossible to locate, in which case you may only need to show that you have made a good faith effort to track down the copyright holder.

Fair Use

U.S. Copyright law allows for reproduction of portions of published, copyrighted works without requiring permission from the copyright owner under certain limited circumstances. In general, the purposes for that reproduction can be considered “fair ”if they are for criticism, comment, teaching, scholarship, or research, and are not for commercial purposes, are limited in terms of amount and substantiality in relation to the whole work, and will not affect the potential market for the use. Generally, the safest course is to obtain permission from the copyright owner. You can learn more at the U.S. Copyright Office Web Site. See also our Terms of Use page.

For unpublished materials, archivists apply the “fair use” provision by making unpublished material available to researchers, regardless of copyright ownership, and by allowing for single reproductions to be made for research purposes without requesting permission from copyright holders. Also, use of quotations or reproductions in unpublished works (e.g. school papers or for classroom use) does not require permission from the copyright holder.

When it comes to publishing quotations from unpublished sources however, researchers need to obtain permission from the copyright holder, or at least be able to show that they have made a good faith effort. Your publisher or producer should be able to advise you further on this issue.

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 © 2005 Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 Page last updated on Monday, 01 April 2013