You are welcome to re-use content from our Digital Library so long as you use it in an ethically and legally responsible manner.
Copyright is the main factor you will need to consider if you would like to re-use our content. Some of our content is out of copyright, or has no known copyright restrictions, and can be re-used without further permission. However much of our content is still copyright-protected and you may need to seek permission from the rightsholder for your intended use.
You can find out more about using copyright-protected material in this guide produced by The National Archives.
Some items may also have other rights and interests associated with them which affect the way that content can be used.
The information below will guide you through the steps you may need to take when re-using our content.
Check the rights status of the item you wish to use
Copyright is time limited. Copyright in published works normally expires 70 years after the last living author dies. Copyright in most of the unpublished material in our Digital Library lasts until 2039.
You will find information about the copyright status of our content in the individual item record and the collection description.
Our rights statements fall into three broad categories:
- Out of copyright or no known copyright
- In Copyright and licensed for re-use under certain conditions
- In Copyright and not licensed for re-use.
You will find further information about our Rights Statements and licences below.
We are not always able to check the copyright status of individual items, so in some instances you may have to check for yourself the status of the content you wish to use.
The National Archive guide to copyright and related rights contains a flowchart and other information that will help you do this.
Decide whether you need permission from the copyright holder for your intended use
Usually, if you wish to re-use an In Copyright work you will need permission from the rightsholder. However, you may not need permission if you only want to use a ‘less than a substantial’ part of the work. There are also certain exceptions to copyright that allow limited use of copyright works without the permission of the rightsholder. These include:
- non-commercial research and private study
- criticism, review and reporting current events
- teaching in educational establishments
- helping disabled people
You’ll find further information in the useful guidance on searching for copyright holders.
Identify and contact the current copyright holder to ask permission for re-use
The copyright right holder is usually the creator or author of a work, or (if deceased) their estate. We share any information we have about the main rightsholders in collection descriptions, to make it easier for you to ask for permission for re-use should you need to do so. However, we do not hold information on all rightsholders so you may need to undertake your own investigation.
The Intellectual Property Office provides useful guidance on searching for copyright holders.
Consider other rights and interests that may impact on re-use
In addition to copyright, there may be other rights or considerations that affect the way you are able to re-use our content. For example, some of our content may contain information about individuals who may still be alive or contain culturally or racially insensitive language or imagery. Where we are aware of such issues, we will flag them up in the item or collection description, but it is your responsibility to ensure that your use is ethically and legally sound.
Our rights statements and licences
Public Domain Mark. We apply this rights statement to items that are no longer restricted by copyright and are freely available for re-use, even for commercial purposes. These will typically be very old works. For further details please read this information on the Public Domain Mark.
No Known Copyright. We apply this rights statement to collections or items that are likely to be free of known copyright restrictions, but we have insufficient information to confirm that they are in the public domain. These will typically be older publications that are probably out of copyright, because it is unlikely that their creators were living within the last seventy years. For further guidance see No Known Copyright.
In-Copyright. We apply this rights statement to items or collections that are entirely or partly in-copyright when digitised. Where possible we also seek permission from the rightsholder to licence the material for re-use. For further guidance see In-Copyright. The main licences we apply are:
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International CC-BY 4.0. You may re-use items with this licence freely, with only a few conditions.
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0. You may re-use items with this licence freely, with only a few conditions.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International. You are free to re-use this material non-commercially, with only a few conditions. Non-commercial use is use that is not primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or income generation. It also includes paid-for or promotional materials with a limited print or production run. For example:
- use for education or research.
- use in publications with a total print or production run of 500 copies or fewer over five years. This includes publications that are sold, supported by advertising, or used to promote a business.
- use in events with a projected attendance or capacity of 500 people or fewer in one year.
- use in news reporting with a total print or production run of 200 copies or fewer per issue.
If you have any questions or would like to know more then please get in touch by email Library.Enquiries@lse.ac.uk