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Are USGS reports/publications copyrighted?

USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain and can be freely used without permission. All we ask is that you acknowledge the USGS as the source.

While the content of most USGS webpages 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 websites 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.

When using information from USGS information products, publications, or Web sites, we ask that proper credit be given. Credit can be provided by including a citation such as one of 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)

Policy - For relevant USGS policy on copyrights and trademarks, see our Copyrights and Credits statement or the Survey Manual chapter on USGS Visual Identity System.

You are welcome to create a link to any USGS websites. There is no need to request permission.