The University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries generally do not own the copyrights to materials in their print, manuscript, and electronic collections. Consistent with their public university mission, the Libraries encourage the use of content in these collections for study, research, and teaching.
- Most published works published after 1923 are protected by U. S. and international copyright laws.
- Unpublished materials, including but not limited to correspondence and manuscripts, are also protected by copyright laws. Please ask the Curator of Special Collections about issues concerning requests to quote from or reproduce unpublished materials in Special Collections.
Fair use of copyright-protected works for study, research, and other purposes does not require the permission of the copyright owner provided that the use meets the standard specified in Section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. Read more from the UW-Madison Libraries about copyright and fair use.
If the text or image is under copyright, it is the researcher’s obligation, prior to publication or distribution, to determine and satisfy copyright requirements, or other use restrictions, from the owners of the rights. Copyright holders or owning institutions may charge permission fees.
The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas-Austin, in conjunction with the WATCH File (Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders) and the University of Reading, offers a convenient guide for researchers who need to identify copyright holders.
Requests to the Libraries
In general the Libraries of the University of Wisconsin-Madison can neither grant nor deny permission to publish texts or images from its holdings unless the University of Wisconsin is identified as the copyright holder for the original. Unless otherwise noted, it is thus not necessary to seek the Libraries’ permission to publish texts or images unless the University of Wisconsin is identified as the copyright holder for the original.
The Libraries do, however, request that proper attribution be given in each instance of use. The preferred attribution wording for items in Special Collections is:
By courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Libraries also request a copy of any publication in a physical format (print, CD/DVD, etc.) in which a text or image from its collections is reproduced. In the case of text or images from holdings of the Department of Special Collections, the copy should be sent directly to:
990 Memorial Library
University of Wisconsin
728 State Street
Madison, WI 53706
For additional information, please contact the Curator of Special Collections at the above address or by phone at (608) 262-2809 or (608) 262-3243.