Permissions and Copyright When Buying a Historical Image | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Terms of Use for Historical Images

Defining Permission, Copyright and Terms of Use

Permissions and Copyright When Buying a Historical Image | Wisconsin Historical Society

Please read the following before purchasing a historic image for personal or commercial/non-profit use.

Terms of Use for Historical Images

When you complete the purchase of a Wisconsin Historical Image you agree to these terms of use:

  1. You agree to accept all legal responsibility for questions of copyright, literary rights or invasion of privacy that may arise from copying or making use of the image(s).
  2. You agree not to sell, publish, share, reproduce, publicly display, broadcast or redistribute the image(s) in any format without first obtaining written permission from the Wisconsin Historical Society and paying a permission fee.
  3. You agree you will not copy the image(s) in any form or by any means, including making prints from digital files, nor will you allow others to do so.
  4. You acknowledge that during processing the aspect ratio of the image is maintained. This can result in the size of the actual image being slightly different from the size ordered. However, the size of the print will be as close as possible to the size ordered.
  5. You acknowledge that your purchased image(s) will be printed on semi-gloss paper (except for maps and documents, which will be printed on matte paper).
  6. You agree to pay all costs in advance of receiving the image.


The Wisconsin Historical Society does not own the copyright to most images in its collections. It is your responsibility to determine whether your proposed use violates copyright, and if so, to obtain permission from the copyright owner. In some cases, we have written agreements with copyright holders. In others, copyright has lapsed. Often, it is not clear who owns copyright. You, the user, are legally liable for complying with the provisions of the law. For more information on copyright, consult the U.S. Copyright Office publications.


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Have Questions?

Contact Lisa Marine, WHI Business Manager, by phone at 608-264-6475 or by email below:

You can also communicate by mail or fax:

Wisconsin Historical Society
Attn: Lisa Marine, WHI Business Manager
816 State Street, Room 407
Madison, WI 53706-1482
Fax: 608-264-6472