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Special Collections Fees and Copyright

Our Center offers many services to researchers interested in our materials. NOTE: Research service is only for out-of-town researchers (non-students) who are unable to travel to campus.

Services and Fees

Please do not send payment before discussing your order with the Special Collections staff. However, once the cost has been determined and arrangements have been made, please download, sign and date the appropriate copyright agreement (Photocopy or Photograph) and send it to us with your check. Credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) are accepted but there is an additional 10% credit card surcharge.

Photocopying Rates

Size B & W Color
8 ½ x 11 $ .25 $ .75
8 ½ x 14 $ .50 $1.00
11 x 17 $ .75 $1.50

Photocopy Surcharges

  • 25-50 copies = $10
  • 50-100 copies = $25
  • 101-299 copies = $45
  • 300-499 copies = $75
  • 500-749 copies = $125
  • More than 750 copies = $200

Digital Reproductions

  • High-quality digital reproductions (for publication or exhibit purposes) are $25/each.
  • Delivery (via CD or DVD) is $10 per disc, plus the cost of shipping and handling.


  • $2 per page to fax within the U.S.
  • $5 per page to fax outside the U.S.

Other Fees

Fee Type Non-profit Use Commercial Use
Use of images in publications, printed matter or other media $25 per item Negotiated ($50 minimum per item)
Preparation fee $10 per request $50 per request
Research fee (for Out-of-town Researchers) $50 per hour $100 per hour
Rush fee $10 per item $25 per item

Shipping & handling: Minimum fee is $5 per request. Overnight Express and other special delivery services are provided at cost plus a $25 handling fee and the rush fee.

Payment by credit card: incurs an additional 10% service and handling fee.

Copyright Policies

In order to understand copyright implications, our campus has a number of different references and sources; including the library copyright policy.


Special Collections staff do all of the photocopying for patrons and follow all copyright rules using the Library’s understanding of the law and common sense “best practices.” These rules are consistently applied to all library patrons. It is implicit that all photocopying done for patrons of the Special Collections Research Center is in lieu of notetaking and is to be used for private study, scholarship or research and not for publication or any commercial (for-profit) purpose.

Books and printed materials

Entire books cannot be photocopied unless they are in the public domain (see public domain/copyright term chart) or are out-of–print and not available for purchase. Portions of books still protected by copyright may be photocopied provided that the amount and nature fall within the “fair use” guidelines. This is judged on a case-by-case basis.

In general, printed materials (i.e. pamphlets) are considered published and therefore enjoy copyright protection accordingly. Unless the item was produced by the U.S. government or by California State University, Fresno, or was published before 1923, in most cases the item is still regulated by copyright law. Thus, if a patron would like to have an entire item photocopied, he or she must first obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Manuscript materials

Most manuscript materials can be photocopied as a convenience to researchers, in lieu of notetaking, unless there is a specific restriction on photocopying as formally specified on the donor agreement by the creator/donor.

Reproductions of photographs

Reproductions of loose photographs can be made if they are for personal use or a one-time educational purpose. Photographs by commercial photographers may have restrictions attached to them and copies should be requested through their own agents. Personal photographs (loose or in albums) in manuscript collections fall under the same rules as manuscript materials.

Use in Publications

Manuscript materials

The vast majority of Special Collection’s manuscript materials are unique items that have not been published but are protected by copyright law. No unpublished manuscript item will be in public domain before January 1, 2003. However, in some collections, copyright has been formally transferred to California State University, Fresno. In those cases, permission to publish is obtained from a representative of the University (in this instance, the Head of Special Collections). Otherwise, permission to quote from an item or publish it must be sought from the copyright holder or his/her heirs. Special Collections staff will assist patrons in identifying copyright holders of manuscript materials whenever possible. It should be noted, however, that the physical ownership of an item does not signify that the Library owns the intellectual property rights as well. Unless copyright has been formally transferred to the University through a written document, copyright remains in the hands of the creator or his/her heirs.*

If the Special Collections Research Center only owns photocopies of original materials housed elsewhere, the patron should contact that library/repository for permission to publish or for further information on the copyright holder.

All materials created by California State University, Fresno as a public institution are considered automatically in the public domain.

* In the case of letters, copyright does not belong to the recipient of the letter but rather to the creator/writer. Thus, even if a donor transfers copyright to the university, the copyright to letters written to the donor (but not by the donor) remains with the creator of the letters.


For a great number of the loose photographs housed in the Special Collections Research Center, there is no information as to the copyright holder or creator/photographer. In these cases, while the Library may allow the patron to have a photographic reproduction of the image, such an action does not in any way impart permission to publish. If the Library does not own the intellectual property rights to an item, it cannot grant or deny permission to use the item in a publication. The decision to publish or not is entirely up to the patron, who thereby assumes all liability and risks associated with possible copyright infringement. Moreover, the patron indemnifies the Library from sharing in that liability and risk.

As in the case with letters, photographs in a collection to which copyright has been transferred to the University are not necessarily copyright free. If the donor was not the creator of the photographs, copyright remains with the original photographer or his/her heirs, regardless of who owns the actual photographs.

If a photograph was taken by a professional photographer, copyright is retained by that photographer, his/her agents or heirs, unless the image was a work for hire, in which case copyright belongs to the photographer’s client or heirs.