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Are USGS reports copyrighted?

USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain. While the content of most USGS Web pages is in the U.S. public domain, not all information, illustrations, or photographs on our site are. Some non USGS photographs, images, and/or graphics that appear on USGS Web sites are used by the USGS with permission from the copyright holder. These materials are generally marked as being copyrighted. To use these copyrighted materials, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder under the copyright law.

You are welcome to make a link to any of the Web pages USGS has published on the Internet. There is no need to request permission.

Use of the USGS visual identifier (logo) is restricted to official publications.

When using information from USGS information products, publications, or Web sites that are in the public domain, we ask that proper credit be given. Credit can be provided by including a citation such as the following:

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS
U.S. Geological Survey/photo by Jane Doe (if the photographer/artist is known)
USGS/Reston, VA (if originating office but not the artist is known)

Policy - For relevant USGS policy on copyrights and trademarks, refer to the Survey Manual chapter entitled, Use of Copyrighted Material in USGS Information Products.

Contact - If you have questions concerning the use of USGS information, contact the USGS Web.

In general, the USGS copyright policy can be stated as follows: 

USGS products that are produced entirely within the agency are considered "public domain" materials; therefore, the public is free to use them in published material or in any other manner without obtaining consent or paying a fee. The USGS requests that the public adhere to some basic guidelines when using its materials. USGS materials should not be used or altered in such a way that they could potentially be perceived as being in a negative context. Whenever possible, the USGS asks that the use of USGS materials be cited somewhere in the text or manuscript. As a precaution, please make sure that the materials that you are crediting as having originated with the USGS were produced entirely by the USGS and not in cooperation with another source. 

Learn more:

Information Policies and Instructions

USGS Privacy Policy and Disclaimers

Acknowledging or Crediting USGS as Information Source

Tags: Publications, Water, Education, Ecology