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Use Policy

Special Collections is committed to providing researchers with access to primary source documents.The rare book stacks are not open, so researchers are strongly encouraged to browse the VIRGO online catalog, where rare books are identified by “Location: Law 3rd Floor Special Collections." Rare books do not circulate and must be read in the rare book room. Upon request, the staff will copy small numbers of pages of books that are not fragile.

The University of Virginia Law Library is committed to supporting research, teaching, scholarship, publication, and artistic production involving the use of the Library’s Special Collections materials. To remove barriers to such uses, it is not necessary to seek the Library’s permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use materials that the Library has made available online from our collections. This applies whether your use is non-commercial or commercial.

The materials available within this and our other Digital Collections, unless otherwise stated, are available for use under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

You may

  • Share — Copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.
  • Adapt — Remix, transform, and build upon the material.

You may do this for any purpose, even commercially. The Library requires users of these materials to attribute, by giving appropriate credit, the Library as the materials' holding institution.

Special Collections must always be cited as the source of text or images when published or otherwise distributed. For most of our collections objects, it is sufficient for users to provide the following creative commons attribution in close proximity to the licensed image or text:

  • CC BY Image courtesy of University of Virginia Law Library

Where this citation method is not possible, you may wish to add the attributions in a formal list of illustrations, in a notes section, or a film's end credits. To do so, you may use the citation method below. For example:

  • [item title], [Collection Title], University of Virginia Law Library

In addition, the Library requests, where possible, that users of the materials

  • include, if you are publishing online, in the citation or caption a hyperlink to the reprinted image’s corresponding webpage, and
  • that users inform us of any publications that do come out using our content, and
  • that users send us a copy of the publication for our collections.
Further Rights Assessment

The Library's consent as the owner of the rare original materials does not address copyright issues that may affect publication rights. Although images posted by the Library are believed to have no known U.S. copyright or other restrictions -- or copyright has been ceded to the library and the library offers the materials for use under CC BY -- it is the sole responsibility of the user or recipient of copies of Special Collections' materials to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission where needed prior to any distribution or publication. If the text or image in question is under copyright, permission to publish must be sought from the owners of the rights, typically the creator or the heirs to his or her estate, unless covered by the principle of “fair use.” Copyright law protects unpublished as well as published materials. Any use of Special Collections images or materials is subject to the user or recipient’s agreement to indemnify and hold harmless the University of Virginia, its officers, employees and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions and expenses. By your use of these materials, you agree to these responsibilities, including the noted legal protections of the University of Virginia.

If questions arise concerning the small number of collections for which the University of Virginia does own copyright (generally noted in the catalog records or online guides), or for materials in the University of Virginia School of Law Archives, please contact Special Collections.

Further, some library donors have placed restrictions on the use of Special Collections materials that must be honored. Such restrictions are generally noted in the catalog record or online guides to Special Collections materials, and Library staff will provide informational assistance in these cases.

Special Collections no longer provides signed letters of permission or other signed permission forms, as our online material are offered through a creative commons license.

Collection Specific Citation Methods

Certain collection donors retain copyright to the items within the collection, or the donor has requested that publication of items from their donated collections contain additional attribution. These collections and their additional stipulations are listed below:

  • RG 204 | Records of the Virginia Law Weekly  
    CCBY Image courtesy of Virginia Law Weekly and University of Virginia Law Library
  • MSS 86-8 | Photographs by André Kertész   
    The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of the estate of Andre Kertesz.


Audiovisual Content Use and Licensing

The University of Virginia Law Library is pleased to extend the use of its audiovisual content within our Special Collections to support academic, educational, and personal research pursuits. Recognizing the unique nature of audiovisual materials, these resources are offered under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA).

Under this license, users are free to:

  • Share — Copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — Remix, transform, and build upon the material

These freedoms are granted under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must provide appropriate credit, indicate if changes were made, and include the CC BY-NC-SA license link. A suggested citation format for our audiovisual content is as follows:
    • "[Item Title]," [Collection Title], University of Virginia Law Library, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
  • NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Any use intended to generate commercial advantage or monetary compensation is prohibited under this license.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

We encourage the use of our audiovisual content for non-commercial, educational purposes, and scholarly work. For inquiries regarding content that may have specific copyright restrictions or for assistance with using our audiovisual collections within the scope of the CC BY-NC-SA license, please contact Special Collections.