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Ball State University Archives and Special Collections: Commercial Use Policy

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.
Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections allows and encourages materials in copyright to Ball State University to be used freely for non-commercial or research purposes within the scope of fair use as outlined in 17 U.S. Code § 107.  That section of the federal copyright statute, provides criteria for determining whether the use of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material can be classified as fair use and thus not a violation of copyright protections.  

If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of fair use that user may be liable for copyright infringement. 

Ball State University Libraries reserves the right to refuse to accept a request for archival materials if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.  The University’s grant of a request, however, is not a determination that use complies with copyright requirements.

Archives and Special Collections can only grant permission for use of materials outside of fair use parameters to which Ball State University holds the copyright; physical possession does not imply copyright ownership.  Researchers who wish to use materials that are in copyright to an entity other than Ball State University are responsible for obtaining the proper permissions from the copyright holder if their intended use exceeds what is permitted by fair use. 

Non-commercial or commercial use is allowed by U.S. copyright law without obtaining permission for works that are in the public domain.

For commercial use, material for which copyright belongs to Ball State University may be subject to the following usage fees:

•    One-time use of an item from the Archives in a commercial publication and/or production: $50.00 per item.
•    One-time use of an item from the Archives in a commercial environment (restaurant, bank, office, etc.): $10.00 per item.

The fee for one-time use in a commercial publication and/or production allows the user to incorporate the item from the Archives into a single work, such as an article, a book, or a documentary production. Translations of that work into different languages and/or transfer of the work into different media, such as conversion of the work from paper to digital form, will still be considered one single work, and no additional fee is required to continue use of the item in such different formats of the single work.  Additional fees will be required, however, for incorporation and use of the same item in a different work.  For example, payment of the fee to incorporate an item into a book does not allow the user to incorporate the same item in a journal article or in a documentary film.

Payment of the above fees for display in a commercial environment, such as a restaurant, or business office, allows continued display of the item in that specific environment for an indefinite period of time, but does not allow use of the item in any other location.

The researcher assumes responsibility for issues concerning copyright violation, invasion of privacy, slander, and/or libel resulting from the use of the archival items. The researcher indemnifies Ball State University, its trustees, officers and employees from any legal action related to use of archival material.

Please make checks payable to Ball State University and send to:

Ball State University
Attn: Archives and Special Collections
University Libraries, BL 210
2000 University Avenue
Muncie, IN 47306

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Fees do NOT apply to: Non-profit corporations (government agencies, churches, or organizations with 501(c)(3) IRS status); Accredited educational institutions; Non-profit museums and other historical agencies; Private scholars (when used for personal research, lectures, theses or dissertations); Non-profit academic presses or production companies; Home use; Local news media.

Archives and Special Collections reserves the right to waive/negotiate fees or other requirements on an individual basis at the discretion of the Assistant Dean for Digital Scholarship and Special Collections. Such waiver of fees or obligations can be made only upon approval of written application to the Assistant Dean for Digital Scholarship and Special Collections.

Please contact Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078 to inquire about the use of archival materials or to discuss fee payment.

Please contact the Ball State University Library Copyright Office at for guidance and suggestions regarding fair use. It is the responsibility of the researcher, however, to interpret and apply U.S. Copyright Law and abide by fair use in the use of archival materials. Guidance from Ball State University Libraries’ Copyright Office does not constitute legal advice.

Individuals using archival materials in a publication, exhibit, or other work must cite the archival material and archival collection name and credit Ball State University Archives and Special Collections in a citation style appropriate for the given work.  Archives and Special Collections retains the right to request a complementary copy of works that include or cite collection resources.

Archives and Special Collections Archival Item Usage Form