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Guide to Using Special Collections at Yale University: Rights and Permissions

Terms Governing Use of Materials

The Yale University Library and museums, among the world's leading research institutions, collects, organizes, preserves, and provides access to and services for a rich and unique record of human thought and creativity. Through its web sites, the Library and museums offer public access to a range of its collections through online exhibitions, archival finding aids, digital repositories, and the online public access catalog.

Yale University provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes only.    Yale University makes no warranty that your distribution, reproduction or other use of these materials will be non-infringing. You are solely responsible for making legal assessments regarding the use of an item and securing any necessary permissions. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The Library endeavors when possible to provide accurate factual information about copyright owners and related matters in catalog records, finding aids, and other texts that accompany collections or individual items that may assist you in making necessary legal determinations. Please contact if you have helpful information about any material included in these collections or if you believe the web site has not properly attributed your work or has used your material without necessary authorization.

Privacy and Publicity Rights

Privacy and publicity rights reflect separate and distinct interests from copyright interests. Neither privacy nor publicity rights are the subject of federal law. While fair use is a defense to copyright infringement, fair use is not a defense to claims of violation of privacy or publicity rights. Privacy and publicity rights are the subject of state laws. What may be permitted in one state may not be permitted in another. Note also that related causes of action may be pursued under the federal Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125 (a), for example, for unauthorized uses of a person's identity in order to create a false endorsement. While an individual's right to privacy generally ends when the individual dies, publicity rights associated with the commercial value connected with an individual's name, image or voice may continue.* Researchers bear the responsibility of making individualized determinations as to whether privacy and publicity rights are implicated by the nature of the materials and how they use such materials.

* For additional information on Privacy and Publicity rights see the Library of Congress website.

Additional Copyright Resources

For general information about copyright, please refer to the following:

Preferred Citations for Yale Special Collections Repositories

Use the following form of each repository's name in formulating your citations to materials from Yale's special collections:

Arts Library Special Collections 

  • Special Collections, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library 

  • Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
  • Or in some cases credit a Beinecke collection before the library's citation - see the bottom of the Beinecke's "Copyright Questions" page for more information.

Divinity Special Collections

  • Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library.

Law Library Rare Book Collection

  • Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

Lewis Walpole Library

  • The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Manuscripts and Archives

  • Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Medical Historical Library

  • Medical Historical Library, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library.

Music Library Special Collections

  • Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University.

Yale Center for British Art

  • Yale Center for British Art, Institutional Archives.
  • Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts.