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Legal

Congress.gov is hosted and managed by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress’s mission is to support Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties, and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people. Our websites offer public access to a wide range of information, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

General Disclaimer

Our websites link to other federal agencies’ and other organizations’ websites when there is a business reason to do so. The links are not endorsements of the content of the websites, or of their policies or products.

 View the standard disclaimer for external links

Security

To maintain the security of our websites, and to ensure that they remain available to you, we use software programs to monitor network traffic. The programs identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, deny service, or otherwise cause damage or access non-public information. Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the United States criminal code (18 U.S.C. 1030). We may provide information about possible violations of the law to law enforcement officials.

We reserve the right to block IP addresses that fail to honor our websites’ robot.txt files, or submit requests at a rate that negatively impacts service delivery to patrons. Current guidelines recommend that software programs submit a total of no more than 10 requests per minute to our applications, regardless of the number of machines used to submit requests. We also reserve the right to terminate programs that require more than 24 hours to complete.

Whenever possible, we provide information that we have about copyright owners and related matters in the catalog records, finding aids and other texts that accompany collections. However, the information we have may not be accurate or complete. As a publicly supported institution, we generally do not own the rights to materials in our collections. You should determine for yourself whether or not an item is protected by copyright or in the public domain, and then satisfy any copyright or use restrictions when publishing or distributing materials from our collections. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond what is allowed by fair use or other exemptions requires written permission from the copyright holder.

We do not charge permission fees for using any materials, and generally do not grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute them. We do request that anyone linking to our websites present the link in a manner that does not imply that we are making an express or implied endorsement of any good or service provided, and that the link clearly indicates that the user is leaving one site and going to another.

Items created by Library of Congress employees in the scope of their employment are U.S. Government works not subject to copyright in the United States (17 U.S.C. §105). Unless otherwise indicated on this site, the Library of Congress has no objection to the international use and reuse of Library U.S. Government works on loc.gov. These works are also available for worldwide use and reuse under CC0 1.0 Universal.

If you have more information about material on our websites, or if you are the copyright holder and believe our websites have not properly attributed your work or have used it without permission, please contact [email protected] with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.

View more information about copyright law from the U.S. Copyright Office

Privacy and Publicity Rights

Privacy and publicity rights are separate and distinct from copyright. Copyright is protected by federal law under the United States Copyright Act, whereas privacy and publicity rights are primarily governed by state law. What is allowed in one state may not be allowed in another.

If you use materials from our websites, then you are responsible for determining whether there are privacy and publicity rights considerations. Factors to consider include the type of materials and their intended use.

Privacy Policy

Protecting our patrons’ personal information is important. We collect, use, and share information obtained from online visitors only in the following ways:

  • Personal information is used only when you voluntarily provide it directly to the Library or when you grant third parties permission to allow the Library’s uses of your personal information
  • Personal information is used only for its intended purpose
  • Personal information is disclosed to contractors or associates only to carry out your requests. Third parties either follow our privacy policy or prominently display their own
  • Personal information is not disclosed to outside parties, including other government agencies, without first obtaining permission from you, unless disclosure is required by law or a court order
  • We provide a safe online environment for children in accordance with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) principles
  • We have safeguards to protect all information collected

For more information follow these links:

Types of Information Collected

We collect several types of information, although never for commercial marketing:

  1. Automatically Collected Information
  2. Information Collected for Measurement and Customization (Cookies)
  3. Personal Information

We have safeguards in place to protect all this information, including only allowing access by designated staff that require access in order to perform their duties.

Automatically Collected Information

We strive to provide the best experience for you. We automatically collect and store the following non-personally identifiable information:

  • The name of the domain from which you accessed the internet
  • The internet protocol address of your Internet providers’ gateways, or in some cases, your computer
  • The date and time you accessed our websites
  • The URL of the pages visited and files downloaded
  • The internet address of the website that brought you directly to our websites
  • Characteristics of your computer system, and
  • Search terms used to come to the websites and while on the websites (in aggregate only)

This information allows us to improve website design, presentation and system performance. We collect this information from anyone who reads, browses, or downloads information from our websites.

Information Collected for Measurement and Customization (Cookies)

To help provide website visitors with the best experience possible, we use commercial software to report and analyze aggregated web metrics data. The data is generally retained indefinitely to help improve website performance.

Our sites use three types of tools: session cookies, persistent cookies, and other customization tools. “Cookies” are small files that websites transfer to visitors’ computers to allow the site to remember specific information. If you do not want cookies transferred to your computer, you may opt out by changing your browser options. Without cookies, most of our websites will continue to display normally, but certain features may not work as well or may be unavailable.

Session cookies do not contain personal information and disappear once the browser window is closed. We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable you to more easily navigate throughout the websites. Session cookies only collect non-personally identifiable data.

Persistent cookies store information on your computers for longer periods of time and across multiple visits. We do not use persistent cookies to collect personal identifiable information about visitors. However, we do use persistent cookies to improve web metrics by distinguishing between new and returning visitors, to anonymously aggregate data on how visitors use our websites, and to remember your voluntarily-provided preferences to create a smoother browsing experience.

Customization tools allow you to voluntarily provide information to personalize and improve your online experience. Information from customization tools is saved on our servers.

Personal Information

Personal information may be required to use certain features of our websites, such as making a purchase from our online shop, submitting a request to the Ask a Librarian service, responding to a feedback form, or participating in blog discussions. We always inform you what information is required, and only use that information for its stated purpose. If you provide the information requested, then you consent to our using the information for the stated purpose. If you do not provide the information then some website features may be unavailable.

Occasionally, we work with third party applications that are not exclusively operated or controlled by the Library of Congress, to provide a better web presentation or user experience, such as for fulfilling online orders, emailing updates or collecting voluntarily-provided feedback. These third-party sites and applications will either follow our privacy policy, or prominently display their own. The Library does not have access to any information collected by third–party cookies or similar technologies on its sites. Other than these exceptions, and for authorized government law enforcement activities, we do not provide personal information to outside organizations without first obtaining your consent.

Children’s Privacy Policy

Part of our mission is reaching out to children in creative and educationally beneficial ways while still protecting their privacy. Our websites offering educational content to children under the age of 13 have links to their own privacy policies that comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Some websites may include games or activities that require personally identifiable information. We do not use the information for any purpose other than the game or activity, and delete the information as soon as practical.

If we become aware that a child under the age of 13 has made a request for information (such as through the Ask a Librarian service), we will respond to the request and then delete any identifying information. Similarly, if we learn that a child under 13 has posted personally identifiable information on any of our websites, we will delete the information.

We will disclose information about a child under the age of 13 if it is necessary to protect the child, the website itself, or to respond to a law enforcement inquiry.

We take children’s privacy seriously, and encourage parents to contact us with any questions or concerns via the form at www.loc.gov/contact/web-site-comments. Similarly, parents who would like to notify us of personally identifiable information collected from a child under the age of 13 that should be deleted should contact us at the above address.

About Our Web Surveys

We use various types of online forms, including third-party forms and surveys, to collect opinions and feedback. Submitting information is voluntary.

We appreciate all comments and feedback from our visitors.

March 12, 2018