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

General Information

Terms of Agreement for Commercial or Non-Profit Use of Images

Defining Permission and Copyright

Permission to use an image and securing copyright for the image are two separate issues. Please read the following before purchasing an image for publication or public display.

Terms of Agreement

When you complete the purchase of a Wisconsin Historical Image for commercial or non-profit use you agree to these terms of use:

  1. You acknowledge that permission is necessary for commercial or non-profit use of the historical images. Fees are charged per image, per format and include in-context promotion. These fees are separate from and in addition to image fees.
  2. You agree to pay the permission fees before using the image(s).
  3. You will provide the following credit line (replacing the zeroes with the Image ID#) when using images: Wisconsin Historical Society, WHS-00000.
  4. You will not significantly alter image(s). I agree to request permission from the Wisconsin Historical Society before altering any image beyond standard cropping and resizing. After receiving permission to crop an image, if an image is cropped, the credit line will note the alteration.
  5. You will not use or authorize others to use the images for any other purpose.
  6. For subsequent printings or editions of this project, you will arrange for additional permissions from the Wisconsin Historical Society.
  7. You understand the granting of permission to publish by the Wisconsin Historical Society does not absolve the end user from copyright liabilities. I will not hold the State of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Historical Society liable for any damages stemming from my use of this content. This includes costs and expenses based on the violation of rights of ownership, infringement of copyright, invasion of the rights of privacy or laws of libel resulting from use of materials furnished.


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.

Learn More

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

Wisconsin History Tour.