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Rights & Reproductions

Request to Reproduce Items

Special Collections is pleased to provide reproductions of our textual, visual, and audio materials, when such reproductions will not damage the original or violate any restrictions on the materials. Pre-payment is required on all orders. The reproduction fees charged by Special Collections are dedicated to the ongoing access and preservation of its holdings. Reproduction of some fragile materials may require outsourcing or specialized techniques. Additional charges may apply. For more information, please see our statement on Copyright & Use. If you plan to publish material from the Smith College Special Collections, please see Permissions to Use or Publish Materials.

Digital Cameras

We encourage digital camera use in the reading room; please read our Photography & Video Policy for more information. Personal scanners are not allowed.

Submit a request to receive a price quote:

Please see Fees & Payment for costs and payment methods.

Copyright & Use: Intellectual Property Policies for Reproduction

A large part of our mission is to make our collections accessible and usable to researchers who visit our reading room and discover our materials online.

It is important to know which intellectual property rights--which include copyrights, trademarks, publicity rights, etc.--apply to materials in our collections before using them, especially if you plan to publish them. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.

Your request to Smith College Special Collections to copy materials constitutes an agreement that you will not reproduce, transfer, distribute, broadcast, publicly display, offer for sale, or otherwise use or publish any material subject to copyright, or a portion thereof, in excess of fair use, as defined by copyright law, without the express permission of the copyright holder.  It is your responsibility to identify the copyright owner and obtain permission before you publish or otherwise use the materials.


In general, the creator (such as an author, artist, and/or photographer) of materials owns copyright. While Smith College Special Collections owns the physical materials in our care, we do not necessarily own the copyright, unless this has been transferred to us by the creator. Even in cases where the primary creator of a collection has transferred copyright, there may be third-party materials in that collection to which copyright was never transferred. Granting permission to publish materials is a relationship solely between the researcher and the creator.

We will gladly share any information we do have about copyright holders in our collections. However, we are not able to do any additional research in regards to rights information and do not facilitate or execute requests for permission.

Privacy & Publicity Rights

Other legal rights that affect uses of Special Collections materials are privacy and publicity rights.

The right to privacy is the right of an individual to be let alone, free from unreasonable public scrutiny. Privacy rights are governed by state laws, such as Massachusetts Right of Privacy (Chapter 214, Section 1B).

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. Rights of publicity are governed by state laws, for example Massachusetts Right of Publicity Law (Chapter 214, Section 3A).

You are solely responsible for addressing issues of privacy and publicity rights relating to your use of our materials. The rights of privacy and publicity are distinct from copyright.

An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR 46 (Protection of Human Subjects).

Resources to Start Investigating Intellectual Property Rights

The U.S. Copyright Office has provided information about How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work. When you cannot identify or locate the current copyright owner of a copyrighted work, the copyrighted material is sometimes called an “orphan work.” Columbia University Libraries and the Society of American Archivists have provided advice about documenting searches for copyright owners and potentially using orphan works.

Take Down Notice & Disclaimer

Take Down Notice

As an institution of higher education, Smith College values the rights to intellectual property. If you believe that there is something that should not be used because incorrect permission has been received, direct your inquiry to or:

Ben Marsden, Information Security Director
Information Technology Services
Stoddard Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

We will give your request every consideration and determine the merit of your claim within two weeks of notice.


In receiving a reproduction from our holdings, you assume all responsibility for infringement of copyright or other rights in your use of the material. You must agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless Smith College and its Trustees, officers, agents, and employees from and against any and all liabilities, losses, demand, penalties, costs, expenses, attorney's’ fees, lawsuits, fines, judgments, or causes of actions, including but not limited to claims relating to infringement of copyright, trademark, invasion of rights of privacy or publicity, or libel that arise either directly or indirectly from any use by the requestor of the images and/or materials provided by Smith College Special Collections.

You also must not use the name of Special Collections, Smith College Libraries, or Smith College in any manner which creates any false association between you and the image, materials, the Libraries, and/or Smith College, or that incorrectly implies any sponsorship or endorsement by the Libraries, Smith College, or any third party rights holder.