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Librarian Web Permissions SOP

Review Terms of Use/Copyright

Most sites have a page where they post any conditions or restrictions regarding site and content use. It may take a little time to locate the section(s) that applies to linking or content use. Look for:

  • Terms of Use
  • Legal
  • Privacy
  • About
  • Disclaimer

If you don't see one of these or if these pages don't cover site and content use, try searching for the words terms or copyright in a site search box.

Tip: As a last check, conduct a Google Advanced search.

  • Open the Google Advanced search page.
  • In this exact word or phrase, enter "terms of use."
  • Enter the domain name of the website in the site or domain box.
  • Click on the Advanced Search box.
  • You can also substitute the term copyright for terms of use.

So What Are You Looking For?

Some websites specifically address linking, while others use standard language that applies to its content in general. Below is a table that breaks out terms and phrases that may be included and how to interpret them.

To identify where the site might discuss linking or content use:

  1. Use the Find option from your browser to quickly search for the word link on the page.
  2. If you don't find the word link, use this table to search for additional words and phrases. 


Allowed for Direct Linking

Creative Commons licenses

  • CC BY
  • CC BY-SA
  • CC BY-ND
  • CC0



create derivative works from






publicly display

publicly perform







Written Permission Required

commercial use prohibited


non-commercial use only

personal use only


Creative Commons licenses

  • CC BY-NC

Not Allowed for Linking

linking prohibited

Searching TOUs

Many TOUs use standard language and can be quite dense and filled with legalese. A search using your browser's Find tool may help.

  • Use the browser's Find tool to search for the terms link and commercial. That will reveal if the TOU specifically mentions linking to its site or content or if there are restrictions against commercial use will require written permission from the website copyright owner.
  • Many website TOUs will distinguish (usually by headings) between users and contributors; the latter contains usage restrictions for people who post to the site. Some will differentiate between the website in general and any blogs hosted on the site. Restrictions that may apply to UOPX will be found under the general users' category.
  • Some websites are beginning to include separate sections that address linking.
    • If the TOU specifically allows for linking but has restrictions against commercial use, linking is allowed.
    • If the TOU specifically allows for linking and does not restrict against commercial use, linking is allowed.
    • If the TOU specifically allows for linking and does not restrict against commercial use but includes the terms distribute or transmit, linking is allowed.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons Licenses Explained