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Fire Insurance Maps at the Library of Congress: A Resource Guide

Copyright Information

The Library of Congress, as a publicly supported institution, does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Items published in the United States prior to January 1, 1926 or by the United States government are in the public domain. Material also published before 1963 that was not renewed is also in the public domain. The Geography and Map Division will not scan or reproduce any material that may still be under copyright restriction without either the permission of the copyright holder or proof that the item is no longer protected.

For a quick reference on copyright terms, view this Copyright Term and Public Domain Chart produced by Cornell University External.

Sanborn Maps

Items published in the United States prior to January 1, 1926 are in the public domain. Therefore, all Sanborn maps produced before 1926 are in the public domain and can be downloaded and used without any permissions needed. Additionally, any maps published in the United States before 1963 in which the copyright was not renewed are also in the public domain. Prior to the Sanborn scanning project, a search was made in the Copyright Office to determine the renewal status of these sheets. The Library of Congress has scanned and placed online the maps from 1926-1963 without a renewal notice and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection for those sheets that are digitized.

Please note, starting in 2019, the date for establishing public domain material became a rolling date. Maps that were under copyright protection when the Sanborn scanning project started, namely some maps from 1923-1925, have not yet been scanned though they are now in the public domain. The Geography and Map Division is working to establish a procedure to scan material that comes out of copyright on this now rolling basis.

Sanborn maps that were renewed after 1926 or published after 1963 are under copyright protection. The copyrights are held by Environmental Data Resources, Inc. External. The Geography and Map Division will not scan any materials that are still under copyright protection without the permission of the copyright holder.

When publishing materials from the Library's collection, a citation to the Geography and Map Division and the Library of Congress is appreciated.