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Question: Is the material on MedlinePlus copyrighted?


MedlinePlus contains both non-copyrighted and copyrighted material.

Which pages are NOT copyrighted?
  • Works produced by federal government employees as part of their official duties are not copyrighted under U.S. law. On MedlinePlus the pages that are not copyrighted include:

    • The MedlinePlus home page
    • MedlinePlus health topic pages
    • The MedlinePlus tour
    • MedlinePlus FAQs
    • MedlinePlus pages consisting of links, such as the Easy-to-Read pages, the Organizations pages, or the Low Vision page
    • Pages on other U.S. Government Web sited produced by their employees that MedlinePlus links to, such as National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What does it mean if pages are not copyrighted?
  • It means that you may reproduce and redistribute these pages. You may also link to them. For information on linking to MedlinePlus pages, please see our linking to MedlinePlus page.

Which pages ARE copyrighted?
  • The information on MedlinePlus that may be protected by U.S. and foreign copyright laws includes:

    • The Adam Medical Encyclopedia from
    • Drug information from the United States Pharmacopeia and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
    • News stories from Reuters, United Press International, and other news providers
    • Interactive Health Tutorials from the Patient Education Institute
    • The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary
    • Illustrations, logos, and photos on MedlinePlus pages
    • Pages from non U.S. government web sites. These pages appear as links on health topic pages. Examples include pages from the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Heart Association, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, etc.
    • Copyrighted information that may appear on other U.S. Government Web sites
    • The Find a Hospital information from the American Hospital Association
    • MapQuest maps and driving directions on the Find a Hospital pages

  • You can sometimes tell if something is copyrighted if it has the copyright symbol, the name of the copyright holder, and the statement "All rights reserved." For example:

    • © 1998-2004 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved.

    However, a copyright notice is not required by law and therefore not all copyrighted material is necessarily marked in this way.

What does it mean if something is copyrighted?
  • If a page is copyrighted, transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use (PDF) as defined in the copyright laws may require the written permission of the copyright owners. MedlinePlus cannot grant this permission.

Whom do I contact to request permission to use material or images?
  • You need to contact the copyright holder. On MedlinePlus, the licensed products that are copyrighted are listed below:

    • Adam Medical Encyclopedia:
    • Interactive Health Tutorials: Patient Education Institute,
    • Medical Dictionary: Merriam-Webster,
    • American Hospital Directory: American Hospital Association
  • Drug Information:

    • United States Pharmacopeia Drug Information:
    • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists:

  • News sources:

    • Reuters:
    • United Press International:
    • New York Times Syndicate (Cox News):
    • Scripps Howard:
    • Canadian Press:
    • Press Association:
    • Healthday:

  • For information from other web sites, you will need to contact those sources.

Can I frame MedlinePlus pages?
  • Because MedlinePlus includes copyrighted, licensed text and images, framing is not authorized by NLM. For more information, see our framing FAQ.

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