Rights and Reproductions FAQs | Newberry

Rights and Reproductions FAQs

The Newberry makes its collections available for any lawful purpose, commercial or non-commercial, without licensing or permission fees to the library, subject to the following terms and conditions. Use of reproductions of Newberry collection items shall be at the user’s sole risk. Researchers are responsible for determining whether the material is in the public domain or whether it is protected by copyright law or other restrictions. If the material is protected by copyright law, researchers are responsible for determining whether the intended use is within the limits of fair use and, if not, for obtaining permission from any rights holders. The Newberry shall not be responsible or liable for any claim of infringement or damage that may occur owing to the use of any material that the Newberry makes available.

Rights and Permissions

Who is responsible for determining whether permission from rights holders is required to reproduce Newberry collection materials?

Researchers are responsible for determining whether the material is in the public domain or whether it is protected by copyright law or other restrictions. If the material is protected by copyright law, researchers are responsible for determining whether the intended use is within the limits of fair use and, if not, for obtaining permission from any rights holders. The Newberry shall not be responsible or liable for any claim of infringement or damage that may occur owing to the use of any material that the Newberry makes available.

What is Public Domain?

A work in the public domain is no longer under copyright protection. A work may be in the public domain because it is ineligible for protection, its protection may have expired, or it may have been placed in the public domain by its creator. Works in the public domain may be freely used without permission of the former copyright holder. For more information about copyright and public domain, please see the following resources:

The Newberry provides links to information presented by other institutions as a courtesy to its readers. The Newberry disclaims any responsibility for the information and content made available by such links.

Is everything in the Newberry’s collection in the public domain?

No. The Newberry collects materials from many time periods and much of it is covered by copyright law or other restrictions. Please see Can you help me determine the copyright status of an item in the Newberry collection.

Is everything in a Newberry digital collection, publication, or resource in the public domain?

No. The Newberry includes a wide variety of materials in its digital collections, publications, and resources. Though many items in are in the public domain, in some cases the Newberry has obtained permission from rights holders to reproduce material as part of a digital collection, publication, or resource. In other cases, the Newberry makes material available as part of a digital collection, publication, or resource within fair use guidelines. Therefore, some material in Newberry digital collections, publications, and resources may be protected by copyright law and is being made available online under one of the above circumstances.

Parties who have questions, who wish to contest the use of specific works, or who can provide additional information should see our Notice and Take-Down Procedure.

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. For more information about fair use, please see:

The Newberry provides links to information presented by other institutions as a courtesy to its readers. The Newberry disclaims any responsibility for the information and content made available by such links.

In addition to copyright, what other restrictions might apply to Newberry collection items?

Newberry materials may be subject to copyright, trademark, privacy, and other laws. The Newberry is also committed to adhering to conditions required by agreements with donors of collections. Social and religious customs and requirements may limit access to some works, as described in our statement on Access to Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials.

Do I need to ask for permission from or pay permission fees to the Newberry to reproduce material from its collection?

No. Use of images or other reproductions is permitted without further application or authorization from the Newberry. However, use of reproductions of Newberry collection items shall be at the user’s sole risk. Researchers are responsible for determining whether the material is in the public domain or whether it is protected by copyright law or other restrictions. If the material is protected by copyright law, researchers are responsible for determining whether the intended use is within the limits of fair use and, if not, for obtaining permission from any rights holders. The Newberry shall not be responsible or liable for any claim of infringement or damage that may occur owing to the use of any material that the Newberry makes available.

I took my own digital photograph of an item while visiting the Newberry. Are there any restrictions on how I can use it?

Researchers are allowed to take and use their own photographs of Newberry items, as outlined in Photographing Newberry Materials in the Reading Rooms. Personal digital photographs may not be adequate for some online or print publication uses. For information on obtaining high-resolution digital files, contact Digital Services. There are service costs associated with fulfilling requests for high-resolution digital files.

Researchers are responsible for determining whether material is covered by copyright law or other restrictions. Permission to use personal cameras in the Reading Rooms does not mean that the Newberry has made any determination of any copyright or related matters. Use of reproductions of Newberry collection items shall be at the user’s sole risk.

I ordered a photocopy/digital reproduction from the Newberry or downloaded a digital reproduction from a digital collection, publication, or resource. Are there any restrictions on how I can use it?

Researchers are responsible for determining whether material is covered by copyright law or other restrictions. Acceptance of a reproduction request by the Newberry or provision of online access to an item does not mean that the Newberry has made any determination of any copyright or related matters concerning the request. Use of reproductions of Newberry collection items shall be at the user’s sole risk.

My publisher requires a letter of permission from the Newberry in order to use a reproduction of an item from the collection. Can I obtain one?

The Newberry does not provide permission letters or sign permission contracts. Let your publisher know that, subject to the terms and conditions of the Newberry Rights and Reproductions policy, use of images or other reproductions of the Newberry’s collection is permitted without further application or authorization from the library. If the publisher still has concerns, provide them with a print version of this web page.

Authors/publishers are responsible for determining whether the material is in the public domain or whether it is protected by copyright law or other restrictions. If the material is protected by copyright law, authors/publishers are responsible for determining whether the intended use is within the limits of fair use and, if not, for obtaining permission from any rights holders. The Newberry shall not be responsible or liable for any claim of infringement or damage that may occur owing to the use of any material that the Newberry makes available.

Can I use images of Newberry visitors, speakers, library staff, building interiors or events that I see on the website?

The Newberry reserves all rights to its website. If you wish to reproduce images of visitors, speakers, library staff, building interiors or events, please contact Digital Services.

Can you help me determine the copyright status of an item in the Newberry collection?

The Newberry cannot conduct copyright searches for users. For more information about copyright and public domain, please see the following resources:

The Newberry provides links to information presented by other institutions as a courtesy to its readers. The Newberry disclaims any responsibility for the information and content made available by such links.

Finding Newberry Collection Materials

How can I find the Newberry’s digital collections?

The Newberry provides access to its digital collections through its website and via the following regional, national, and international repositories:

I know the Newberry owns a book/manuscript/photograph, but I can’t find it online. Can you help me?

The Newberry is digitizing its collection selectively and as resources are available. For help finding material in the Newberry’s collection, please Contact a Librarian or stop by the reference desk. For material that is not available online, the Newberry offers a variety of reproduction services. For more information and fees for reproducing Newberry collection items:

Can the Newberry do image research for me?

The Newberry cannot conduct image research for users. The Newberry’s collections contain countless images. In order to find images, researchers must browse through books, manuscript collections, periodicals, maps, artwork, sheet music, databases, and other resources. Please consult the Image Research guide which contains search strategies for locating images in the collections.

Obtaining Reproductions

Are high-resolution images available for download?

The Newberry provides high-resolution JPEG images for download through its CARLI Digital Collections. These files will be suitable for most online and publication needs. A variety of files are also available for download at Internet Archive, Explore Chicago Collections, and World Digital Library. At this time, TIFF files cannot be downloaded but are available for purchase by contacting Digital Services.

How do I order reproductions of items in the Newberry collection that have not already been digitized?

The Newberry offers a variety of reproduction services for items in the collection. For more information and fees for reproducing Newberry collection items:

All orders for reproductions are made through our online request system, Aeon. To set up an account, go to requests.newberry.org and click on the “First Time Users” link. For help using Aeon or ordering reproductions, Contact a Librarian or stop by the reference desk.

Crediting the Newberry

Do I need to credit the Newberry when I reproduce an item from the collection?

The Newberry requests that all reproductions of items from the collection are identified. Please cite as Newberry Library, Chicago [+call number or collection name].

I used material for my book. How can I send a copy for the Newberry collection?

The Newberry welcomes complimentary copies of publications that use or quote from its collection. For more information about submitting a copy of your publication, please Contact a Librarian.

Supporting the Newberry

How can I support the Newberry’s digitization program?

If you would like to support the Newberry’s efforts to preserve, provide access to, and digitize materials, please consider making a donation.