Rights and Reuse

A black and white photograph of a courtroom. A judge in robes is sitting at and elevated desk. There is a witness beside them, and an attorney facing them. There are many people in the crowd

We often get questions about right, permissions, and reuse.

The main thing to know is that all materials in the Media History Digital Library are available for free viewing, free download, and, in most cases, free reuse. You may use them within your teaching, research, publications, and productions without asking our permission or paying a fee.

There are a few caveats and additional things to keep in mind.

  1. The vast majority (98%) of materials in the Media History Digital Library are in the public domain and no longer protected by copyright. To determine which materials were available for digitization, we checked the U.S. copyright status of all titles. We reviewed every copyright renewal for serials (magazines) published from 1923 to 1950, and for titles after those dates, we searched the copyright records for the status of the major publications published from 1951 to 1963. The copyrights for nearly all of these media industry, fan and technical publications were not renewed, and those pre-1964 works are now in the public domain. However, we cannot accept any legal liability or assist you in the unlikely event that a third party emerges and claims to control the copyright.
  2. The remaining 2% of the materials in the collection are still protected by copyright but their rights holders generously permitted us to digitize them and share them freely online. Hollywood Studio Magazine, Hollywood Then and Now, and Angles all belong in this category.
  3. We ask that you not rehost the files, and talk to us if you want to use them in bulk for commercial purposes.
  4. Citing the Media History Digital Library as a source is requested and appreciated. By including the credit line, “Courtesy of the Media History Digital Library,” and thanking us in the acknowledgments, you can help us demonstrate the impact of our work.
  5. Since the year 2020, the Media History Digital Library has been housed within the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR). The WCFTR’s archival collections are not freely available on this same basis. Many of the WCFTR’s collections are still protected by copyright. Moreover, the WCFTR needs to honor its agreements with donors.