Copyright and Permissions
We invite the public to make use of materials in our collections that are in the public domain and make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law.
While Sonoma County Library is the physical owner of most of the materials in our collections, we are not always the copyright holder. Physical ownership does not imply copyright ownership. Furthermore, our digital collections include many images and other materials for which we have neither physical nor copyright ownership. The library cannot grant or deny permission to publish or distribute materials when we are not the copyright holder.
In general, the creator of the materials (such as the author, artist, and/or photographer) owns copyright. We will gladly share any information we have about copyright holders in our collections when available. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of such information and will not be responsible for any inaccurate/incomplete information.
You are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of materials and obtaining any necessary permissions from the copyright holder(s).
Materials in the public domain do not require permissions.
Crediting Our Materials
We ask that you credit materials from our collections. Please use the following language:
- History & Genealogy Library:
From the holdings of the History & Genealogy Library, Sonoma County Library
- Wine Library:
From the holdings of the Wine Library, Sonoma County Library
- Petaluma History Room:
From the holdings of the Petaluma History Room, Sonoma County Library
Please credit any materials in the Sonoma County Library Digital Collections that belong to other organizations—such as the Western Sonoma County Historical Society—as described in their respective records.
Request Permissions from the Library
Contact us to request permission to use materials for which Sonoma County Library holds copyright.
Publication use of these materials may be subject to the following usage fees:
- Commercial use: $25 per image
- Nonprofit/educational/scholarly use: No charge
Resources for Conducting a Copyright Analysis
- Society of American Archivists—Copyright and Unpublished Material: An Introduction for Users of Archives and Manuscript Collections
- U.S. Copyright Office—Circulars
- U.S. Copyright Office—Copyright Basics
- U.S. Copyright Office—How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work
- U.S. Copyright Office—How to Obtain Permission
Resources on Public Domain and Fair Use
- American Library Association—Fair Use Evaluator
- American Library Association—Is it protected by copyright? tool
- Columbia University Library—Fair Use Checklist
- Cornell University Library—Checklist for Conducting a Fair Use Analysis Before Using Copyrighted Materials
- Cornell University Library—Copyright Term and the Public Domain