Permissions & Copyright
In many cases, Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives does not hold the copyright to its materials and cannot grant or deny permission to use them. Accordingly, you are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of any materials you may wish to use, to investigate the owner of the copyright, and to obtain permission for your intended use. We ask that you cite Middlebury as the source of the materials with the appropriate credit line provided and the bottom of this page, and, if a particular material is copyrighted, you must cite all copyright information and comply with all other terms or restrictions that may be applicable.
Public Domain and Fair Use
Middlebury College Special Collections welcomes you to use materials in the public domain. (Cornell University publishes a chart that may help you to identify what is and is not in the public domain in the United States.)
The United States copyright law contains an exception for fair use of copyrighted materials, which includes the use of copyrighted materials for certain purposes of teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, and news reporting. For guidelines on the fair use exception, please refer to the United States Copyright Office.
You are solely responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use. By using materials from our collections, you agree and warrant that your use will not violate the rights of any person or entity. If you use or reproduce our materials in any format, we ask that the Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives be cited as the source of the material with the appropriate credit line found at the bottom of this page.
If you wish to use any copyrighted materials or content for commercial use or any purpose other than fair use as defined by law, you must request and receive prior written permission for your intended use from the copyright holder. (See Researching copyright below for assistance.)
The copyright holder is usually the author of the material or the author’s heirs. The following are resources that may assist your investigation of the copyright status of the copyrighted material you wish to use:
WATCH File: The WATCH File (Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders) is a database containing primarily the names and addresses of copyright holders or contact persons for authors and artists whose archives are housed, in whole or in part, in libraries and archives in North America and the United Kingdom.
Privacy, Publicity, and Third Party Rights
The rights of privacy and publicity are separate and distinct issues from copyright. While copyright laws protect the copyright owner's property rights in the work, privacy and publicity rights protect the interests of the individuals who are the subject of the work. 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. The right of privacy is a person’s right to live outside of the public eye and free from the publicizing of intimate details of his or her life, which means that directing unwanted public attention to a person may give rise to a cause of action. Keep in mind that while a person's right to privacy generally ends with his or her death, publicity rights associated with the commercial value of that person’s name, image, or likeness may continue after their death. For example, many estates and representatives of famous deceased authors, photographers, celebrities, and other well-known figures continue to control and license use of their names and likenesses.
Unlike copyright, which is subject to the federal Copyright Act of 1976, privacy and publicity rights are subject to state laws; hence, what may be permitted in one state may not be permitted in another. Although fair use is a defense to copyright infringement, it is not a defense to claims alleging violation of privacy or publicity rights. Issues pertaining to privacy and publicity may arise when you contemplate the use of the materials in Middlebury College’s special collections. For instance, if you want to download a copyrighted photograph containing the name or likeness of one or more individuals for use in a paper you plan to publish, in addition to determining whether your use requires consent from the copyright holder, you may also need to secure the consent of the people who appear in the photograph in order to comply with state privacy and publicity laws.
Contact Middlebury College Special Collections
Whenever possible, Special Collections provides factual information about copyright owners. Please contact us at if you have more information about any such material, or, if you are the copyright owner and believe we have not properly attributed your work or have used it without your authorization.
Crediting Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives
We ask that you cite Middlebury College as the source of the original material with the credit line below. For more help formatting citations, visit Citation Styles.
Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives, Middlebury, Vermont
Please email us with any concerns or questions at email@example.com