Image Reproductions & Permissions

Image Reproductions & Permissions

In Special Collections

Copyright | Reproductions | Permissions | Photo Orders | Scanning Fee Schedule | User Fee Schedule Contact


The copyright status of photographs and audiovisual material is often difficult to determine, because it is affected by such things as the employment status of the creator, the date material was created, the date material was first published, and what information accompanied the first publication. We have not determined copyright status for many of the photographs and audiovisual materials in our collection, though ownership of copyright by DC Public Library and public domain status is noted if known.

The library is not responsible for either determining the copyright status of the items in our collection or for securing copyright permission.  While DC Public Library does provide copies of our materials for research or publication, the researcher must exercise appropriate caution in using those materials and securing all necessary rights.  Possession of a copy of an image, audio or video from the library does not constitute permission to use it.


Dig DC: Digitized and born-digital collections from DC Public Library Special Collections can be found at Dig DC.  Use copies of items in Dig DC can be downloaded from the site at no cost for personal or non-commercial use.  Users must alert Special Collections Staff of intent to publish any Dig DC materials so staff can prepare a photo order with the total due if user fees are charged.

Cameras: Users may use their own camera equipment to reproduce images selected during a research appointment at no cost. When registering for archival research, researchers must read and sign the Fair Use Statement and must alert Special Collections Staff of any intent to publish so staff can prepare a photo order with the total due if user fees are charged.

Prints: DC Public Library Special Collections does not make prints of images from its collections but can refer you to an approved third party vendor for print services. Please consult with the photo librarian on how to obtain prints.

Scans: Library staff can scan images not already available digitally for a fee with the submission of a photo order. Patrons are not permitted to scan images except on reading room copiers and microfilm readers with scan-to-email functions.


Fair Use Statement: A researcher need only complete a Fair Use Statement if the use is for research, government use, business report, or personal display and pays no user fees. If the images are subsequently published, the user must return to the library and in consultation with staff to complete a final permission to publish images based on the collection used and may also be charged user fees.

Permission to Publish: Users must request permission to use images from the library's collections in a print publication, exhibition, broadcast, website, digital format or film. Researchers may not reuse images from the library's collections in a different project without signing a separate permission. The Library charges a user fee for commercial use of an image. Staff selects the permission to use based the copyright of the image.

Photo Orders

Scan Orders: Users may order scans of images from our collections for a fee after the correct permission is signed and submitted in consultation with library staff. After receipt of signed permission(s), staff will collect information from a customer to complete the order, including type, resolution and billing information. Orders are completed within a week to 10 days. Staff will send a photo order invoice with the total due to the customer via e-mail or U.S. mail when the order is complete. User fees may also be charged based on use. Scans can be picked up on a CD at the library, mailed, or transferred electronically.  The library accepts checks or money orders payable to the "D.C. Treasurer," but no credit cards.

Permission-only Orders: Publishers, authors or other researchers who want to publish, display or broadcast an image from Washingtoniana's collections that they already have, should contact the photo librarian to determine the correct permission to sign and submit.  Staff will prepare a photo order invoice listing all images requested to publish and charge user fees, if any, to the customer.

Scanning Fee Schedule

$15 flat fee

User Fee Schedule

Charge per image based on usage:
 Nonprofit     Free
 Published book $35
 Published book cover   $100
 Newspaper/Magazine article $20
 Magazine cover    $100
 Print advertisement $100
 Posters, postcards, pamphlets, flyers, calendar $35
 Commercial décor  $50
 Web site $20
 Exhibitions at commercial venues $20
 Local or public TV broadcast  $20
 Cable or network TV broadcast $50
 Commercial DVD or video  $50
 Motion picture $150


Contact us at for Fair Use or Permission to Publish forms and any questions or comments about reproductions and permissions.

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