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Rights and Restrictions Information

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730

Publication and other forms of distribution: May be restricted. CORBIS bought the photographic archives of several wire services, including ACME (which includes Acme News Photos) and United Press International (which includes Pacific & Atlantic; Newspaper Enterprise Association, Inc. [NEA]; International Newsreel; William H. Rau Collection; International News Photos; United Press Photos; and UPI). CORBIS controlled the copying of images physically housed in its archives in New York City. In 2016, CORBIS was, in turn, sold to Visual China Group (VCG), which arranged to have Getty Images be the exclusive distributor of CORBIS images outside of China.

Neither VCG nor Getty Images controls the copying of wire service images housed in the Library of Congress. However, any copyright held by CORBIS that is still current would now be owned by VCG, administered by Getty Images. Getty Images can be contacted at:

In an attempt to determine if any copyrights were registered and if those copyrights were renewed, Specialists in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress searched the Copyright Office files. It was found that only a few images were registered for copyright and those copyrights were not renewed, with one exception: the NEA's photographs of the Dionne Quintuplets, which were registered and renewed. However, the Library’s legal office has advised the Division that photographs published with proper copyright notices 95 years ago or less up until 1963 may be protected if the copyright was properly renewed, while works published after 1963 and unpublished photographs in the collection may be protected even if they were not registered with the Copyright Office. (For a summary of copyright terms, see: Copyright and Other Restrictions That Apply to Publication/Distribution of Images: Assessing the Risk of Using a P&P Image - How Long Copyrights Last.)

Additionally, researchers should be advised that determining the copyright status of photographs can be problematic because of the lack of pertinent information, and researchers often have to make calculated risk decisions concerning the appropriate use of an image when its copyright status is unknown or ambiguous. Privacy and publicity rights may also apply.

Access: Subject to P&P policy on serving originals.

Reproduction (photocopying, hand-held camera copying, photoduplication and other forms of copying allowed by "fair use"): Subject to P&P policy on copying.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [Reproduction number e.g., LC-USZ62-123456].

For more information, please read: Copyright and Other Restrictions That Apply to Publication/Distribution of Images: Assessing the Risk of Using a P&P Image

Prepared by: Prints and Photographs Division staff. Revised: Sept. 2017; March 2019.

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  March 25, 2022
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