Copyright at NPS

You and Your Copyright at NPS

US copyright protection is not available for any work of the United States Government, including those works produced as part of a NPS faculty member's official duties. For more information about "official" versus "personal" works:

Copyright and Government Employment

Why do Government Works have no Copyright?

Wikipedia has provided a simple explanation for the historical reason Government works have no copyright.  Here is a quote from the entry on the Printing Act of 1895.

The Printing Act of 1895,[1] was a law designed to centralize in the United States Government Printing Office the printing, binding, and distribution of U.S. Government documents.[2] The Act revised public printing laws and established the roles of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the Government Printing Office (GPO) in distributing government information. The act also assigned leadership of the program to the Superintendent of Public Documents, who would be under the control of the GPO,[3]

The Printing Act is also significant because it contained the first statutory prohibition of copyright in Government publications.[2] 

NPS Policy for the Use of Copyrighted Materials

Obtaining Permissions

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites.  Similarly, thesis authors need to obtain permission to use copyrighted materials.

You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder (i.e. outside the boundaries of fair use).

Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use. Determining Copyright.
  2. Identify the copyright holder or agent. 
  3. Send written request for permission to use.  (Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months. Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty.
  4. If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies for fair use, or use alternative material.