Copyright, Access, and Use

The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is committed to providing broad access to its collections for teaching, learning, and research. The OHS Website, catalog records, finding aids, and digital items enhance scholarship and promote use of both the digital and the original objects. A critical component of our organizational mission is to “inspire curiosity about all the people, places, and events that have shaped Oregon” and providing free and open access to our collections is a core function in executing that mission.

The goal of Oregon Historical Society Digital Collections (OHSDC) is to enhance access to our collections - for students, educators and members of the public throughout Oregon, and around the world.

With these goals in mind,

  • OHS will make digital copies of unrestricted Public Domain items available for use without limitations.
  • OHS will make items for which it holds copyright available under a Creative Commons - Attribution, Non-Commercial, ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
  • Items where the copyright is or may be held by a third party will be made available for research purposes only - additional restrictions may apply - and users must clear all rights with the rights holder(s) before any use in excess of “fair use” as defined by copyright law.
  • Items with Undetermined Copyright are provided solely for educational and/or reference purposes only with no additional rights implied, and users must clear all rights with the rights holder(s) before any use in excess of “fair use” as defined by copyright law.

Each item in OHS Digital Collections has a Rights statement that documents the copyright status to the best of our knowledge as of the time the materials are added. These statements identify how the item may be re-used. We encourage "Fair Uses" of our materials whenever possible. In some cases, items may be subject to agreements outside of copyright that restrict access to all or part of those materials.

What is "Fair Use"?

Fair use is a provision defined in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law which permits the use and duplication of copyrighted works
without permission in certain circumstances, provides a framework for evaluating whether something is considered fair use, and identifies certain types of uses such as "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research” as potentially qualifying as fair use. It is the user's responsibility to evaluate whether their intended use falls under this provision. We recommend that all users retain a record of their fair use determinations or attempts to secure permissions. Please note that OHS is unable to provide specific legal advice to users about questions of fair use.

Rights Categories

Rights categories with their corresponding rights statements are as follows:

No Copyright

Items in this category do not have restrictions, and may be freely used and modified without permission. We request that you acknowledge the source of the item whenever possible (see Library Citation Guide).


Rights Statement Conditions
No Copyright - United States - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/ The Oregon Historical Society believes that the item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination has not been made as to the copyright status in other countries.
Public Domain - http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/ The copyright term on the item has expired and is free of any known copyright restriction.
Creative Commons CC0 Universal Public Domain - http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ The rights holder has chosen to place the item in the public domain.


No Copyright – Restrictions other than Copyright

Items in this category may be used and modified without permission as long as the user complies with the stated conditions.


Rights Statement Conditions
No Copyright - Contractual Restrictions - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-CR/1.0/ Item is in the Public Domain but OHS has entered into contractual agreement that requires it to take steps to restrict third party uses of the Item.
No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-NC/1.0/ Item is in the Public Domain and has been digitized in a public-private partnership as part of which, the partners have agreed to limit commercial uses of this item by third parties.


In Copyright

Items in this category may require seeking additional authorization from the rights holder(s) for specific uses or under fair use.


Rights Statement Conditions
In Copyright - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/ The Oregon Historical Society has determined that the item is in copyright and has obtained permission from the rights holder(s) to make the item available, or makes the item available under an exception or limitation to copyright (including Fair Use) that entitles it to make the item available. Permission is required for further uses.
In Copyright – Rights-Holder(s) Unlocatable or Unidentifiable - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-RUU/1.0/ Item has been identified as in copyright but no rights holder(s) have been identified or located after some reasonable investigation.
In Copyright – Educational Use Permitted - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/ The Oregon Historical Society has been explicitly authorized by the rights holder(s) to allow third parties to use the item for educational uses without obtaining permission first; permission is required for further uses.
In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-NC/1.0/ The Oregon Historical Society has been explicitly authorized by the rights holder(s) to allow third parties to use the item for non-commercial purposes without obtaining permission first; permission is required for further uses.


Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons licenses permit limited uses as assigned by the rights holder. Refer to the Creative Commons website for more information.


License Name License Terms
Creative Commons - Attribution (BY) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Creative Commons - Attribution, ShareAlike (BY-SA) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
Creative Commons - Attribution, No Derivatives (BY-ND) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/
Creative Commons - Attribution, Non-Commercial (BY-NC) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Creative Commons - Attribution, Non-Commercial, ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
Creative Commons - Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (BY-NC-ND) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


Unknown Copyright

Items in this category may require identifying rights holder(s) and seeking additional authorization for specific uses.


Rights Statement Conditions
Copyright Undetermined - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/ The Oregon Historical Society does not have conclusive information pertaining to the rights status of the item.
No Known Copyright - http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NKC/1.0/ The Oregon Historical Society reasonably believes that the item is not restricted by copyright or related rights, but a conclusive determination could not be made.