Rights, Permissions, Copyright, & Citations

Reproductions and Use

The University of Iowa Special Collections provides copies of materials to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. We welcome you to use materials in our collections that are in the public domain and to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law. Please cite us.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a researcher uses a reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that researcher may be liable for copyright infringement.

Request to reproduce items

Requests to copy Special Collections material constitute an agreement that you will not reproduce, transfer, distribute, broadcast, publicly display, offer for sale, or otherwise use or publish any material subject to copyright, or a portion thereof, in excess of fair use, as defined by copyright law, without the express permission of the copyright holder.

Please note that while the University of Iowa Special Collections owns the materials in our collections, we usually do not own the copyright to these materials, except where it has been explicitly transferred to Special Collections. You are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of materials and obtaining permission to use material from the copyright holder. Special Collections cannot provide permission to publish or distribute materials when Special Collections is not the copyright holder.

We reserve the right to limit the number of copies made; to restrict the use of rare and valuable items; and to deny a request because of copyright regulations, privacy rights, donor-imposed regulations, or other rights related issues.

To request reproductions of items in our collections, please fill out our Access & Reproductions form.

Use, copyright, and attribution

Special Collections welcomes you to use materials in our collections that are in the public domain and to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law. Please cite us.

Materials held by Special Collections may be protected by United States Copyright Law and/or by the copyright laws of other countries. Copyright law protects unpublished as well as published materials.

Special Collections does not claim to control the rights for reproduction for all materials or images in its collections. Certain images or materials may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by the University of Iowa.

If the University of Iowa does not clearly hold the copyright to an item, Special Collections cannot grant or deny permission to use that material.

In obtaining a reproduction from Special Collections, you assume all responsibility for determining whether any permissions relating to copyright, privacy, publicity, trademark, or any other rights are necessary for your intended use, and for obtaining all required permissions. Written permission from the copyright holders and/or other rights holders is required for publication, distribution, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use.

Special Collections will not do research concerning the existence and/or whereabouts of rights holders. To the extent that we provide available information, the Libraries do not warranty the accuracy of such information and shall not be responsible for any inaccurate information. Special Collections will not facilitate or execute requests for permission.

The Society of American Archivists provides further guidance about using copyrighted and unpublished materials. The U.S. Copyright Office provides information about How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.  When you cannot identify or locate the current copyright owner of a copyrighted work, the copyrighted material is sometimes called an “orphan work.” Columbia University Libraries and the Society of American Archivists also provide advice about documenting searches for copyright owners and using orphan works.

When you use material, you must properly acknowledge Special Collections as the source of the material.

You also must not use the name of Special Collections, the University Libraries, or the University of Iowa in any manner which creates any false association between you and the image, materials, the Libraries, and/or the University of Iowa, or that incorrectly implies any sponsorship or endorsement by the Libraries, the University of Iowa, or any third party rights holder.

We appreciate receiving a copy of any published work that features our material.

If you have any more information about an item you’ve seen on our website or if you are the copyright owner and believe our website has not properly attributed your work to you or has used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact lib-spec@uiowa.edu with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.



Please cite us according to these formats:


For material reproduced from books in our collections: Please included a reference to Special Collections, The University of Iowa Libraries.


For material reproduced from Manuscript of University Archives collections: [Caption] [Collection Name], Special Collections, The University of Iowa Libraries.


Privacy and publicity rights

You are solely responsible for addressing issues of privacy and publicity rights relating to your use of our materials. The rights of privacy and publicity are distinct from copyright. Although fair use is a defense to copyright infringement, it is not a defense to violating privacy or publicity rights.

An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). Special Collections reserves the right to require a release from individuals whose privacy may be violated by the reproduction of this image or materials.

The right of publicity is a person’s right to control, and profit from, the use of his or her name, image, and likeness. This means that any use of a person’s name, image, or likeness for commercial gain is not permitted without his or her consent. Rights of publicity are governed by state laws.



In receiving a reproduction from our holdings, you assume all responsibility for infringement of copyright or other rights in your use of the material. You must agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Libraries, the University of Iowa and its Regents, officers, agents and employees, from and against any and all liabilities, losses, demand, penalties, costs, expenses,  attorneys’ fees, lawsuits, fines, judgments, or causes of actions, including but not limited to claims relating to infringement of copyright, trademark, invasion of rights of privacy or publicity, or libel that arise either directly or indirectly from any use by the requestor of the images and/or materials provided by the Libraries, the University of Iowa or its employees, Regents, or agents.