Digital Reproduction and Usage Policy


Smithsonian Directive 609 dated July 15, 2011, permits Smithsonian bureaus to charge fees for the right to reproduce and use images in their collections.  This document establishes the policy and fees in effect at the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA).   

Two types of charges apply under this policy:

Digital Reproduction Fee: This covers costs for duplication work done by SIA.

General Conditions on Reproduction and Permission
All researchers wishing to reproduce SIA photographs for use in consumer merchandise, journals and periodicals, books, trade publications, advertisements, websites with paid advertising and fundraising materials, or for any other commercial purpose must apply for written permission.  A form is provided for this purpose.  This process ensures that three elements are considered: copyright, citation and credit, and fees.

1. Permission is for one-time, non-exclusive use only within the project described. Requestor may not crop, alter, manipulate, superimpose, enhance, or otherwise change the digital asset in any manner without obtaining the prior written permission of the Smithsonian. Requestor may not make further use without the Smithsonian’s prior written approval and compliance with any additional conditions.

2. This permission extends only to such rights as the Smithsonian may have to authorize reproduction and does not purport to include any rights that persons other than the Smithsonian may have under copyright law of the United States or the laws of other countries in which the requestor’s works may be published or distributed. Certain images may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, or publicity rights, or other interests not owned by the Smithsonian. It is requestor’s responsibility to determine whether any such rights exist, and to obtain all necessary permissions to use the image for the purposes set forth herein.

3. Requestor agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the United States, Smithsonian, its regents, agents, and employees, from all claims, actions, judgments, and expenses (including reasonable attorney fees) arising from requestor’s use of the material provided pursuant to this request.

4. Requestor shall: acknowledge the donor and/or creator as specified below; give credit to the Smithsonian as specified below; and comply with all additional conditions specified below by the Smithsonian.

Credit shall be provided to the Smithsonian Institution Archives as the source of the image.  The citation to be used is as follows:  

Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image #

5. If fees are assessed, requestor must pay all fees in advance of delivery.

6. Any advertising or promotion by Requestor that uses the digital asset must be approved in advance by the Smithsonian. Requestor shall not use, reproduce, or refer to the name or logo of Smithsonian or any of its museums or units for publicity, advertising, or promotion purposes.

As a condition of the permission, SIA may request a copy of the finished product for its files.  Please notify SIA upon publication. 

When collection items are reproduced online, SIA requests a link back to its website:  

The Smithsonian Enterprises Product Department and Licensing (PD&L) ( ) arranges with publishers and manufacturers to produce replicas and facsimiles of collection items with the royalties paid to the Smithsonian Institution.  Reproductions for calendars, greeting cards, games, toys, and similar products are arranged through that officer rather than through book and periodical reproduction procedures.  Waivers of licensing arrangements for non-profit projects are possible, but must be approved by PD&L.  SIA staff will advise requesters to contact PD&L when appropriate.