The Bancroft Library does not hold the copyright to all of the original materials in its collection. When copyright resides elsewhere access for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as owner of the physical material and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the publisher. You are responsible for complying with copyright law. A completed Permissions Order from The Bancroft Library does not constitute copyright clearance, unless expressly stated and when Bancroft is the copyright holder. Neither The Bancroft Library nor the Berkeley Regents are responsible for your use of materials subject to copyright law and other legal restrictions. If you intend to publish any material found in the collection of The Bancroft Library you must obtain copyright permission, when applicable.
The Permission & Access Officer will do a check of your requested material to establish if the UC Regents hold the copyright to the material, or if there is any information about the current copyright holder in our files, after a permissions order form is submitted. University of California employees cannot offer you legal advice (e.g. whether or not your use would constitute Fair Use) or make a legal determination. Any further research into copyright is the responsibility of the requester/publisher.
The American Library Association offers many tools to help you understand the various stages and vagaries of copyright on their Copyright Tools website. These tools include a Public Domain Slider to help determine the copyright status of a work that was first published in the United States, a Fair Use Evaluator to help users understand how to determine if the use of a protected work is a “fair use,” and many others.
The U.S. Copyright Office provides information about How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.
U.S. Copyright Office Database: The Copyright Office is an office of public record for copyright registrations and related documentation and they maintain copyright registrations for all works dating from January 1, 1978, to the present, as well as renewals and recorded documents in a publicly accessible database.
WATCH Files: Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders is a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields. The database is administered by the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin.
The Artists Rights Society represents over 80,000 visual artists and their estates. If you are searching for the copyright holder for pictorial works, this is a good place to start.
The American Society of Picture Professionals has created a helpful website for those seeking information about publishing pictorial work.
If you are unable to identify or locate the current copyright owner of a copyrighted work, the copyrighted materials may be called an "orphan work." Columbia University Libraries and the Society of American Archivists provide information on documenting your effort to search for copyright owners and potentially using orphan works.
University of California Copyright: Copyright and fair use are of special concern in higher education and research. As both creators and users of copyrighted and public domain materials, members of the Berkeley academic community should understand and responsibly exercise the rights accorded them under U.S. copyright law. The information provided on this site is intended as a guide to copyright at the University of California, and should not be taken as legal advice.