The National Library of Scotland respects intellectual property rights. We make all reasonable efforts to ensure that any reproduction, both digital and analogue, which is carried out by or within the Library, is in accordance with copyright legislation.

If you consider that your copyright has been infringed by us please email with full details of the suspected infringement and confirmation of your rights.


Copyright and our website

All images, text, sound and video are in National Library of Scotland copyright, unless we state otherwise.

You can access, download and print the contents of this website on a temporary basis for research for a non-commercial purpose or private study. All other rights are reserved by the Library, unless clearly stated.

You must get written permission for any other use, including:

  • Reproduction in any form
  • Transmission, performance, display, lending, or storage in any medium, system or program.

Creative Commons

We are increasingly using Creative Commons licensing on our website and other publicly available resources, such as Flickr. In most instances the licence for use of such material will be under 'Creative Commons, Attribution — Noncommercial — Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland'.

This states that:

You are free:

  • To copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
  • To make derivative works

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution — You must give the original author credit
  • Share alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a licence identical to this one.

With the understanding that:

  • Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder
  • Public domain — Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the licence
  • Other rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the licence:
    • Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations
    • The author's moral rights
    • Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.
  • Notice — For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work.

Read the full Creative Commons Scotland public licence.


Flickr Commons

'No known copyright restrictions'

The National Library of Scotland joined Flickr Commons in June 2010. All the images in the Commons are marked 'no known copyright restrictions'.

This means that we are not aware of any current copyright restrictions on any of the images in our Commons photostream. This may be because we own the copyright, the term of copyright has expired, or because no evidence has been found that copyright restrictions apply.

Use of images in Commons photostream

Images in our Commons photostream are available for research for a non-commercial purpose or private study.

To make any other use of this material, or for high-resolution digital or printed reproductions, see our pages on copying and permissions services.

See images on Flickr NLS photostream



Out of copyright

Even where the original item is out of copyright, we still have rights of ownership. You still need permission to use an image for any purpose other than research for a non-commercial purpose or private study.

Copyright legislation can be complicated and we cannot guarantee that use of these images will not constitute an infringement.

It is therefore important that you carry out an independent review of applicable law. Where necessary, you should get permission from the rights owner before making any new use of this material.


Non-NLS material

Where we have identified material that does not belong to NLS, it is your responsibility to get permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the item. We may need to see proof that you have this permission before we can release a copy of the item.

If you have any questions about copyright and permission for use of non-NLS material, please email

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