Copyright Issues – Beyond Newspaper Articles (CSWR)

From Nancy Brown-Martinez, CSWR

We see that now the Albuquerque Historical Society (AHS) is moving past finding newspaper articles to other kinds of material (books, magazines, videos, TV programs, oral interviews, documents or photos) for the teacher’s history website. You again need to look carefully at copyright questions.


The fact that the library owns a copy of the material (a book, magazine, video, TV program, oral interview, document or photo) does not mean that the library owns the copyright.

A website is considered a publication and copyright permission is needed to place material on the site. Regardless of the way that the student research obtains scans of the materials you are interested in (your student can use the free scanner in the reference room, can take pictures of documents, or request our fee based scanning services for high resolution scans), copyright needs to be addressed. We will help you determine what is copyrighted and what is not. Please see the attached Intent to Publish Form and Duplication Form.

  1. Material published before 1923
    Materials can be used by anyone without obtaining permission. The copyright has expired and the material is in the public domain.
  2. Material published after 1923
    The material is under copyright. It will be your responsibility to obtain permission from the copyright holder to use the material in your website.
  3. Material published after 1923: Orphan works
    Sometimes, the copyright owner cannot be identified (e.g. who took the picture). In other cases, the copyright owner can be identified but not located. In both cases, if you are unable to locate the author or the author’s heir or estate representative, you will need to make a reasonable effort to locate the copyright holder should a claimant come forward post-publication. It is essential that you list each step taken and source consulted in your search; date and record the results for each and keep paper documentation. Once you made (and documented) your good faith effort and still are unable to get permission, you can use the material. (This will likely need to be the task of someone other than the student researcher on such limited hours.)
  4. Government publications
    Materials published by the federal, state, and local government are not copyrighted and can be used by anyone without obtaining permission. UNM is a state institution so material created by UNM is not copyrighted.

All work used on the site must be fully cited also. We have a citation guide to help with this.


If you would like high quality scans, please see the “Duplication Request form”, with the fee schedule. We also request you fill out the “Intent to Publish” form when requesting to use our materials for the site.

We hope this will help you and the student researcher understand these important requirements. If you have further questions please let us know.

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