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Legal Information

Permanent Public Access | Public Domain / Copyright Notice
Photo Credits and Copyright | Section 508 / Accessibility | Privacy | Security

Permanent Public Access

Title 44 of the United States Code (44 U.S.C. Section 1911) stipulates that public access to official Government information products disseminated through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) must be maintained permanently in regional depository libraries and by depository libraries not served by a regional library. Since online products are not physically distributed to depository libraries for retention, GPO has assumed responsibility for the provision of permanent access to Government information products residing on GPO Access servers.

GPO's permanent public access commitment is also met by bringing agency-disseminated Internet resources under the purview of GPO and incorporating them into a digital archive. GPO captures copies of agency electronic information products, and creates PURLs so that users will be automatically redirected to the archived products if the information is no longer accessible on the agency Web site. Please refer to the report Managing the FDLP Electronic Collection: A Policy and Planning Document for more information.

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Public Domain / Copyright Notice

Title 17, Section 105, United States Code, provides that:

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

The intent of the section is to place in the public domain all work of the United States Government, which is defined in 17 U.S.C. § 101 (1994) as work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of the person’s official duties.

By virtue of the foregoing, public documents can generally be reprinted without legal restriction. However, Government publications may contain copyrighted material which was used with permission of the copyright owner. Publication in a Government document does not authorize any use or appropriation of such copyright material without consent of the owner.

Since the Government Printing Office serves merely as a printing and distribution agency for Government publications and has no jurisdiction over their content or subject matter, it is advisable to consult with the originating department or agency, or its successor, prior to reprinting any given publication. In those instances in which permission to reprint material from Government publications is granted, customary credit should be given to the Government department of agency which prepared the material. In addition, whenever a work is published consisting predominantly of work of the U.S. Government, the copyright notice (if any) must identify those parts of the work in which copyright is claimed per 17 U.S.C. § 403 (1994).

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Photo Credits and Copyright

For many of the images on GPO Access, GPO has purchased the right to use the image. GPO is licensed to use these images on a non-exclusive and non-transferable basis. All other rights to the image, including without limitation, copyright and all other rights, are retained by the owner of the images. These images are not in the public domain. For inquiries about images on GPO Access please contact the GPO Contact Center.

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Section 508 / Accessibility

In 1998, President Clinton signed the Workforce Investment Act into law. This Act amended Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to include accessibility requirements for electronic and information technology. Section 508 now requires that electronic and information technology used by the Federal Government, including their Web sites, be made as accessible for people with disabilities as it is for people without disabilities. The U.S. Access Board has outlined specific accessibility standards for implementing Section 508, especially as it applies to Web pages.

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has always had a commitment to accessibility. In the past, we have taken time to ensure that GPO Access complied with provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other accessibility concerns, whenever feasible.

Currently, GPO is working to ensure that existing pages on GPO Access are Section 508-compliant, and that future pages will be created specifically with these accessibility standards in mind.

Feel free to contact us for any reason, especially if you encounter barriers to accessibility on any of our Web pages. With your help, we can work together to ensure that GPO Access remains as accessible as possible. Please direct questions, comments, or recommendations regarding the accessibility of GPO Access to the GPO Contact Center.

More information about Section 508 can be found on:

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The concept of online privacy includes the right to decide what personal information you choose to submit online, and how that information will be used, if at all. To protect user privacy, GPO follows Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recommendations and other suggestions regarding Internet privacy policy for Federal Government Web sites. In doing so, we strive to make users aware of the kinds of information we collect from them, explaining why we collect that information, how we use it, and whether it will be shared with others.

Information Collected Automatically
When users surf the GPO Access Web site or hosted Federal Web sites, GPO collects the following data for statistical purposes only:

  • the IP address from which users access our Web site;
  • the date and time of their visits;
  • the URLs of the pages that they view;
  • WAIS searches and retrievals, including search terms.

We use these statistics to make improvements to GPO Access, not to identify individual users or their searches. We do not enable cookies to monitor usage or to gather users’ personal information.

View examples of statistical information that we collect.

Information Collected via Correspondence with GPO
Personal information submitted by a user in comments or questions via phone, fax, or e-mail is not distributed to parties outside of GPO. Identifying information, such as name, e-mail address, and phone or fax number, is used only for responding to users' comments or questions, and is not made available for other purposes.

Information Collected via U.S. Government Online Bookstore
Personal information supplied by a user when submitting an order via GPO Access, phone, fax, or e-mail is used for fulfilling that order. This information may be used to notify customers of new products that may be of interest to them. GPO provides names and addresses, upon request, only to the publishing agency of the specific product purchased.

Information submitted through an order placed on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore is protected by the use of commercial encryption software. By using this software to create a secure environment for online information exchange, GPO ensures that only authorized personnel can view personal information, such as credit card numbers.

GPO does not enable cookies to monitor usage or to gather users’ personal information; however, "session cookies" are used to aid in the selection of items on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore. To take full advantage of the shopping cart features on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore, users must have session cookies enabled on their browser. Session cookies disappear from the user's computer when an Internet session ends.

Definitions of Privacy Terms

  • Cookies: Cookies are small pieces of information that Web servers or pages store on a user’s hard drive. There are two types of cookies: session cookies and persistent cookies. Both types of cookies allow Internet servers to "remember" specific information about a user. Web sites use them primarily to personalize their sites for individual users, to keep track of orders when users purchase products, and to target advertising toward users based on the information that they access. However, session cookies will "remember" that information for only as long as you explore a Web site during one "session", or visit to the Web site. Session cookies will not "remember" information about you when you return to the site for subsequent visits. However, persistent cookies will "remember" this information for more than one session. OMB has decided that persistent cookies should not be allowed on Government Web sites, except in "the most unusual of circumstances." GPO currently follows this recommendation.

  • Encryption: Encryption technology ensures the protection of personal information via private, secure transactions. View encryption information for the U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

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Site security is the concept of monitoring network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on GPO's servers.

In the case that suspicious activity of this sort arises, a user's personal information may be tracked to identify a possible threat. This is the only reason that GPO will ever collect personal information and/or monitor user activity without asking permission or giving prior notice.

Note: To assist users in finding official Government information, we provide links to other Web sites. Once users have left GPO Access and entered another site, they are subject to the policies and legal notices on that site.

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