I saw an image on the Library of Congress website that I would like to use. Do I need to obtain permission?

By Andrew Hudson Published: August 14, 2012 Updated: October 30, 2015


With few exceptions, the Library of Congress does not own copyright in the materials in its collections and does not grant or deny permission to use the content mounted on its website. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

To the greatest extent possible, the Library attempts to provide any known rights information about its collections. Such information can be found in the “Copyright and Other Restrictions” statements on each American Memory online collection homepage. If the image is not part of the American Memory collections, contact the Library custodial division to which the image is credited.

Bibliographic records and finding aids available in each custodial division include information that may assist in assessing the copyright status. Search their catalogs through the Library’s Online Catalog. To access information from the Library’s reading rooms, go to Research Centers.

U.S. Copyright Office

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