Terms of Use

The Smithsonian Institution (the “Smithsonian”) has created and maintains websites and other digital properties to support its mission for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge” (the “Websites”). These Websites include www.si.edu; websites maintained by the Smithsonian’s museums, research institutes, offices, and programs; third-party sites on which the Smithsonian maintains a presence; downloadable mobile applications and application program interfaces (“APIs”).

By using any of the Websites, you accept and agree to comply with the following terms, which the Smithsonian may change at any time.

1. Ownership of the Content

The Smithsonian owns the compilation of content posted on the Websites, which consists of text, images, audio, video, databases, design, codes, and software (“Content”). This does not mean that the Smithsonian owns each component of the compilation, some of which may be owned by others and used with their permission or used in accordance with applicable law (e.g., fair use). Further, the Smithsonian owns some, but not all, of the intellectual property rights in the Content, including copyright.

2. Using the Content

Content on the Websites falls into one of two categories for purposes of your use:

a. Content with Creative Commons Zero –  CC0 

Content marked with the Creative Commons Zero icon CC0 is made available under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This Content is not protected by copyright and may be used for commercial and noncommercial purposes without fee or copyright restriction; however, the CC0 icon pertains only to the copyright status of the Content. The Smithsonian does not guarantee that all Content marked with the CC0 icon is free from rights other than copyright, including rights held by third parties, or that use of such Content might not be subject to other laws, such as rights of publicity or privacy. 

Commercial Use of CC0 Content

You may use Content marked with the CC0 icon for commercial purposes without further permission from the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian does not guarantee that all Content marked with the CC0 icon is free from rights held by third parties. While you do not need the Smithsonian’s permission to use this Content, you are responsible for obtaining any third-party permissions that may be required for your use. For example, a third party may claim rights in the Content such as trademark, privacy, or publicity rights. You are fully responsible for your own lawful use of these materials and for not infringing on the rights of third parties.

For commonly asked questions about the use of Content, please visit www.si.edu/openacces/faq

b. Other Content – Usage Conditions Apply

All other Content is subject to usage conditions due to copyright and/or other restrictions and may only be used for personal, educational, and other non-commercial uses consistent with the principles of fair use under Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act. All rights not expressly granted herein by the Smithsonian are reserved, unless the Content is marked with the CC0 icon.

To use Content with usage conditions, you must:

  • Cite the author and source of the Content as you would material from any printed work.

  • Cite and link to, when possible, the Website as the source of the Content.

  • Not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices including attribution information, credits, and notices, that are placed in or near the text, images, or data.

  • Comply with all terms or restrictions (such as copyright, trademark, publicity and privacy rights, or contractual restrictions) as may be specified in the metadata or as may otherwise apply to the Content.

Commercial Use of Content with Usage Conditions

You may not use any Content with usage conditions for commercial purposes, unless you have first obtained permission from the Smithsonian museum or program responsible for the Content and any others rightsholder.  This means that, absent express permission, you may not sell Content with usage conditions or sell materials, products, or services that use and incorporate such Content.  You may not use Content with usage conditions to promote or advertise products or services.

You may contact the museum or program responsible for the Content to seek permission, but please be aware that some Content may not be available for commercial use at all due to contractual and other restrictions. Contact information for each museum and program are listed on the Rights Contacts page of this website.

If you are uncertain about what office to contact or are seeking permission to include Content with usage conditions in a commercial product or other item of consumer merchandise, please contact the Office of Product Development and Licensing, [email protected]. If you are seeking to use Content with usage conditions in a film or video product, or for general assistance with filming requests, please contact [email protected].

For commonly asked questions about the use of Content, please visit www.si.edu/openacces/faq.

3. Trademarks

Many of the names, titles, trademarks, service marks, and logos that appear on the Websites that include the Smithsonian name, logo, or programs operated by the Smithsonian are registered or common law (unregistered) marks owned by the Smithsonian. You may not use the Smithsonian trademarks to state or imply an association with or endorsement of your goods, services, or activities or in any manner that infringes upon the Smithsonian trademarks. Requests to use the Smithsonian trademarks in connection with commercial activities should be made to the Office of Product Development and Licensing, [email protected].

Trademarks of third parties may also appear on the Websites, including in the Content, from time to time. You must agree that nothing on the Websites shall be construed as granting any license to use any trademark displayed on the Websites without the express written permission of the trademark owner.

4. User-Generated Content

The Smithsonian offers interactive features, such as comment sections on its Websites or social media accounts, to engage with its audiences and advance its mission for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. The rules listed below for your participation in these features are intended to encourage a learning environment where thoughtful discussion may safely occur among people of all ages and backgrounds. While the Smithsonian monitors and removes comments that do not comply with these rules, we may not be held responsible for any delays or failures in such removal.

Rules of Conduct

Stay on topic. The Smithsonian and its audiences expect comments to deal with the topic at hand.

Keep the conversation civil. Express yourself in ways that are befitting of an educational environment. Post nothing threatening, sexually explicit, or hateful here. Hateful includes derogatory statements targeting individuals or specific groups; these may be based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or expression, age, and mental or physical ability. No profanity. Criticizing Smithsonian decision making or operations is allowed, but a purely personal attack is not.

No spamming, selling, or advertising. This is not the place to promote non-Smithsonian products, services, causes, or any candidates. 

Allow reuse.  The Smithsonian (and those authorized by it) may use what you say to us for noncommercial, educational, or promotional purposes.

Stay lawful. Post only what is yours to post. Do not spread malicious or harmful software or other technology. Do not suggest or encourage illegal activity.

Take personal responsibility. These are public sites. Please do not post personal or other information you would not want the public to know, and again, do not post what is not yours to post.

5. Copyright Complaints

If you have any complaints or objections to Content posted on the Websites because it was not properly credited or it was posted without permission and you are the copyright owner, please contact the Office of General Counsel, [email protected], with your contact information and a link to the relevant Content.

6. Third-Party Sites

The Websites may link to or from third-party sites that are not under the control of the Smithsonian. These links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only, and they do not indicate the Smithsonian’s endorsement, sponsorship of, or affiliation with the third party or content of the linked site, including any advertisements that may be posted. The Smithsonian has no control over, makes no representation or warranty, and bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of third-party sites that link to or from the Websites.

7. Disclaimer

The Smithsonian makes no representations of any kind regarding the Websites, the Content or any portion thereof. The Websites and Content are provided on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular use, copyright ownership and/or non-infringement or other third-party proprietary rights. The Smithsonian shall not be responsible or liable for any damages or losses that may occur to you or any third party based on your use of the Websites and/or the Content. The Smithsonian may update or take down any Website or any Content on a Website at any time. 

8. Indemnity

You agree to release, indemnify, and hold the Smithsonian harmless from all claims, causes of action, allegations, costs, expenses, fees (including reasonable attorneys’ fees), judgments, liabilities, losses, and damages arising from or relating to your use of the Websites and/or any Content.

9. Applicable Law and Jurisdiction

These Terms of Use and any amendments or revisions shall be governed by applicable federal law and the laws of the District of Columbia, without regard to its conflict of laws principles. Any case, controversy, suit, action, or proceeding arising out of, in connection with, or related to these Terms of Use shall be brought in the appropriate federal court.

10. Privacy

By using the Websites, you agree that the Smithsonian may collect, use, and disclose information that you provide as described in the Privacy Statement, at www.si.edu/privacy.