Permissions for U.S. History Content
The articles, textbooks and all original written content produced for ushistory.org are the intellectual property of the Independence Hall Association and are protected by copyright.
Neither the Independece Hall Association — nor anyone else — holds a copyright on such things as the text of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the correspondence of George Washington, the books & pamphlets written by Thomas Paine, photographs from before the early 20th century, or images of paintings created before then. These are part of the Public Domain, and there are no restrictions on usage.
If the content is Copyrighted, such as the text from a chapter of the textbooks, a biography, contemporary analysis of historical documents, or an article on a historical event, then you are free to make use of the content in accordance with established practices of Fair Use.
You don't need permission for such uses which include:
- Linking to any of the resources on ushistory.org — or anywhere else. You don't need permission to provide a standard link to other pages on the internet, and it's almost always appreciated. Unless you are linking through a frame, displaying someone else's content on your site, a standard link is fine.
- Citing a fact. Facts are not protected by copyright. If you produce a research paper, blog post or article and include a fact that you found on ushistory.org, you don't need permission to cite that fact. It's always appreciated if you let people know where you found such great information, but nobody owns facts.
- Excerpting a short portion of content and citing your source. If you copy one or two sentences of ushistory.org content, and attribute it to the source, that's Fair Use.
On the other hand, you definitely do require permission to:
- Republish a significant portion of copyrighted text. It doesn't matter if you attribute the source. If you are using more than a few sentences, and did not get permission, this is a copyright violation.
- Republish a copyrighted image. Again, attributing your source doesn't make this okay if you didn't get permission.*
- Paraphrase content. You can't take a copyrighted article, break out a thesaurus, and produce an article that is essentially the same but with a lot of the words changed. That's a copyright violation.
If your desired content usage requires permission, or you are not sure, just fill out the form below. But please read the above before filling out this form. Your question may already be answered.