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Rights & Permissions

Special Collections reproduces material upon request to the extent that physical condition and copyright permits. All requests require completion of a registration form. 

Researchers who plan the eventual publication of their work should inquire as to restrictions on publication before beginning their research.

Please note that no more than 10% of a collection will be reproduced. For large collections, a maximum of 300 copies will be reproduced. 

Requests may be denied because of the fragility of the material, potential damage to the item, restrictions imposed by the donor, or other factors.

The department is not able to fulfill reproduction requests for audio/visual materials and microforms. These materials, with advance notice, can be consulted on-site for research purposes.


  • Stony Brook University Libraries adhere to the Copyright Law of the United States and reserve the right to refuse or accept a copying or scanning request.

  • Special Collections and University Archives will consider requests for limited photoduplication of material when such duplication can be done without injury to the material and/or does not violate copyright or donor restrictions. A photocopy or digital image may not be further reproduced. Supplying a copy or digital image is not an authorization to publish.

  • The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. 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. This institution reserves the right to refuse a copying order, if in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

  • Stony Brook University Libraries' consent as the physical owner of the materials accessed does not address copyright issues that may affect publication rights.  It is the sole responsibility of the user of Special Collections and University Archives materials to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission where needed prior to an distribution or publication. 

  • Researchers who plan the eventual publication of their work should inquire as to restrictions on publication before beginning their research. Where Stony Brook University does not hold copyright interests, permission to publish must be obtained from the holder of the copyright interests. 

  • In granting permission to publish, the University does not surrender its own right thereafter to publish any of the materials from its collections, nor does it grant permission for more than one-time use. 


  • When citing documents, researchers should credit Special Collections and University Archives as the custodian of the collection.
    "Name of collection, box and folder number (if applicable), Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries."

Websites for Additional Information

Copyright and Unpublished Material from the Society of American Archivists

"Title 17, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright" by Cornell University Law School

United States Copyright Office

WATCH: a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields
by the Harry Ransom Center and the University of Reading Librar

Public Domain Information Project (music and lyrics)

"When U.S. Works Pass Into The Public Domain" by Lolly Gasaway, University of North Carolina

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