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Copyright and Permissions: The Baker Advantage

Published: 04/15/2006

For most researchers, securing permission to reprint or use material from outside sources is a necessary but dreaded chore. Copyright holders can be difficult to locate, negotiations protracted, and financial terms daunting.

Baker Library can make the process not only less onerous but provide unique advantages at lower cost to HBS researchers.

For example, Baker's Historical Collections are a rich source of visual and printed materials, many of which have passed out of copyright. Researchers have used HC materials in a broad range of publications including course work, books, and research papers. If permission to publish is granted, HC provides the appropriate citation format and asks for a complimentary copy of the final project.

HC does not charge for quoting from the collections, but there may be fees associated with image use. Requesters should also be aware that while Baker Library holds the physical rights to these materials, we do not claim copyrights to them, and granting permission to publish is not a copyright agreement. Patrons still have a responsibility to clear copyright with the holder(s). For more information on the process, contact Katherine Fox.

Permission issues may also pop up when researchers use popular sites such as Google and Yahoo for information gathering. In fact, Yahoo will not allow us to use information such as stock charts from Yahoo! Finance in HBS course materials. However, materials gathered from Baker's deep collection of authoritative databases can be incorporated into your work more easily, although permissions for this content are required as well. These sources can be browsed by content type, by subject, or A-Z on the library homepage. For help accessing or using content from these databases, or creating exhibits from this data, contact Sarah Eriksen in Baker Research Services.

The Division of Research and Faculty Development's Web site is a great resource to guide you through the copyright and permission maze. The site includes:

  • Guide to Submitting Course Materials
  • HBS Style Guide for Casewriters
  • Casewriter Quick Reference
  • Permissions Guidelines for Baker Library Database Materials

When materials are physically (e.g., photocopied) and distributed to students, HBS must seek copyright permission and pay royalties. Baker Library can often help here by creating direct links to articles held in our subscription databases, which require no permission or royalty outside of our database license. Contact Erika McCaffrey emccaffrey@hbs.edu for more information.

For students, the HBS citation guide should be used to give credit as needed and required for research and information used in course work. For more information on the subject of using copyrighted material or securing permissions, contact Sarah Eriksen.

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