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Copyright permissions policy

The MIT Libraries encourages and supports research, teaching, and scholarship to advance global knowledge and understanding. One way the Libraries facilitate scholarship and learning is to simplify the Libraries’ policies around permissions and access to the Libraries’ collections to ensure that they are as open as possible.

The following chart summarizes whether you must obtain copyright permission from the rightsholder (which may be MIT) for content from within the Libraries’ collections (more detail is available in the sections following the chart):

status of work
Permissions and/or fee requirements
Public domain works No copyright permission is needed or provided. No fee is required to publish (note, however, that a fee may be required to obtain a high quality scan, if not already available).
Held by MIT Libraries, MIT owns copyright MIT’s copyright permission is required to publish only if the researcher determines that the intended use exceeds fair use.

In addition, this policy constitutes permission from MIT to use figures, tables and brief excerpts for scholarly and educational use, without a fee, of items in the MIT Libraries’ collections when the copyright is also held by MIT.

In general, even when MIT’s permission is needed, the Libraries will not charge a permission fee for non-commercial uses. However, a fee may be required for republishing the full-text/entire edition of a work. A fee may also be required to obtain a high quality scan.

If permission is needed, contact

Third party copyright No permission from MIT is required or given. Copyright permission is required from third-party copyright holders if the researcher determines that the intended use exceeds fair use.

Further information


We gratefully acknowledge the UC Berkeley Library, whose Permissions Policies were an inspiration and template for ours.