UHM Library Digital Collections Disclaimer and Copyright Information

The mission of theUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) Library is to preserve and provide access to information, knowledge resources, and research materials to foster teaching, study, and community engagement. As part of this educational mission, the UHM Library makes digital images of selected items from its collections available via the World Wide Web. The contents of UHM Library digital image collections (including photographs, maps, text, manuscripts, sound and video recordings, etc.) are made publicly available for purposes of research, education, and private study.

DISCLAIMER (applies to all collections)

Material in the digital collections does not necessarily reflect any official position of the UHM Library, the University of Hawaiʻi system, or the State of Hawaiʻi. The content of some material may be considered sensitive, reflecting the culture or language of a period or place. Some materials may have special significance for indigenous communities and other cultural groups, and researchers are encouraged to be sensitive to this.


Some collections, or items within collections, are governed by U.S. copyright. Fair use, as defined by U.S. copyright may apply to the use of this material. All other uses require prior consultation with and consent of the U.S. copyright holders. The lack of an identified copyright holder does not mean one does not exist.

The user is responsible for determining what U.S. copyright laws apply depending on their intended use. Users should contact the UHM Library at about who owns the U.S. copyright if known.  Researchers are encouraged to be aware of the cultural or intellectual property rights that pertain to aspects of Traditional Knowledge.

U.S. Copyright owners who are not properly identified are invited to contact the UHM Library at so that appropriate information may be provided.

This chart is applicable to copyright permissions only. Researchers are responsible for obtaining copyright permission and determining other legal restrictions that may apply to the material’s use and distribution such as privacy and publicity rights; contract and other restrictions.

Copyright Status of Work Action Required by User
Works in Public Domain No action needed.
The University of Hawaiʻi owns the copyright The University of Hawaiʻi controls rights. Seek university permission if intended use exceeds fair use.
Third-party owns the copyright Third-party controls rights. Contact rights holders if intended use exceeds fair use.

Guidance on Determining Copyright Status & Locating Copyright Holders:

  • Public Domain. Public domain refers to works for which copyright protections have expired, or works that were ineligible for protection from the start. Public domain works are open for use with no permission needed. The Library will not make public domain determinations for researchers. For assistance in determining whether a work is in the public domain, the University of California Office of the President has provided helpful general rules of thumb in its Public Domain guide. For more detailed inquiries, we recommend using Cornell’s chart, Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States, in combination with the Stanford Copyright Renewal Database.
  • Finding Copyright Holders. For help locating third-party copyright holder(s), the following resources may assist your investigation:
    • WATCH File: The WATCH File (Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders) is a database containing primarily the names and addresses of copyright holders or contact persons for authors and artists whose archives are housed, in whole or in part, in libraries and archives in North America and the United Kingdom.
    • U.S. Copyright Office: You can search a public database at the U.S. Copyright Office for copyright information on all works registered with the U.S. Copyright Office after January 1, 1978.
    • For materials to which third parties hold the copyright but the physical copies are stewarded by Hamilton Library, you may also contact the UHM Library at to determine whether the Library has any information about the potential copyright holder. The Library makes no representations about the accuracy or completeness of copyright ownership information in its collections.

Determining Whether Your Intended Use Is Fair Use:

A researcher does not need a copyright holder’s permission to publish when the intended use is fair use because United States copyright law contains a limited exception for certain uses made for teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, and news reporting. It is the researcher’s responsibility to determine whether the intended use is a fair use. The Hamilton Library cannot make a fair use determination for you.

For guidelines on what uses qualify for the fair use exception, please see:


Please keep in mind that there are several laws and policies outside of copyright that also affect publication permission.

  • Gift or Donor Agreements: Requests to publish archival and other special collections materials stewarded by the Library may be subject to gift or donor agreement limitations. The Library reserves all rights to grant and deny Permission to Publish Request & Agreement inquiries based on these limitations.
  • Privacy & Publicity Rights: In addition, a researcher must also comply with applicable federal and state privacy and publicity laws when publishing certain materials. While copyright laws protect the copyright owner’s property rights in the work, privacy and publicity laws protect the interests of the individuals who are the subject of the work. In general, a person’s right to privacy ends with his or her death, but publicity rights associated with the commercial value of that person’s name, image, or likeness may continue after death. It is a researcher’s sole responsibility for addressing issues of privacy and publicity rights when publishing content from Library materials. For more information on privacy & publicity laws and rights, see the Digital Media Law Project page on privacy and publicity.


As a matter of good scholarly practice, we recommend that patrons using Library-provided reproductions cite the Library and/or the appropriate web page as the source of reproductions. We also recommend, where applicable, that patrons retain a record of their fair use (PDF) determinations or attempts to secure permissions.


Text adapted, with permission, from UC Berkeley Library Permissions Policies statement. (n.d.). Retrieved on Mar 19, 2020 from

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