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San Diego Public Library Digital Archive

Copyright and Conditions of Use

The San Diego Public Library (SDPL) Digital Archive provides a corpus of materials for public use, research, and viewing as a contribution to education and scholarship. Our Digital Archive consists of various collections of materials (documents, photographs, images, audio files, etc.). Although these materials are made publicly accessible, materials in the collections are not all in the public domain.

Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. See the United States Copyright Law section below for more about fair use.

The SDPL staff has sought permission from authors of materials not in the public domain to scan and mount their materials for research and educational purposes only. The nature of our collections, which include many materials in the public domain, means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult to determine. Whenever possible, our Digital Archive site and records provide information about copyright owners and permissions in the actual item metadata. This information is provided as a service to aid patrons in determining the appropriate use of an item. But, the determination ultimately rests with each patron.

The San Diego Public Library in general owns rights to most materials in the digital collections. It does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our digital collections.

We wish to acknowledge the agencies, organizations, societies, and individuals who have contributed materials used in these collections. Credits are provided in the metadata of each document wherever possible. The Library Staff are eager to hear from any copyright owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future.

Conditions of Use

By their use of these materials, users agree to the following conditions of use:

United States Copyright Law

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Four factors are considered in the determination of fair use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential mark for or value of the copyrighted work

This institution, San Diego Public Library, reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

For more information about copyright, see the United States Copyright Office Web site.

How to Cite Materials from the San Diego Public Library's Digital Archive

When using materials from the Digital Archive and its collections, you must acknowledge their source by clearly stating the name of the original author, title, publisher, date, and other publication information. You must also acknowledge the San Diego Public Library as the digital publisher. Be as specific as possible, including the URL (Web address and link).

Contact Us

For other questions, please contact the staff of Special Collections, San Diego Public Library:

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