Not sure if you need permission to use material copyrighted by the U.S. Postal Service®? Find out what constitutes fair use of copyrighted material and what uses require permission.
What is Fair Use?
The U.S. Postal Service has identified a limited number of uses of copyrighted material that generally do not require prior approval from the Rights and Permissions office. If your intended use meets the requirements for one of the situations below, you do not need to obtain permission from the Postal Service™. However, if the intended use extends beyond the specific situations listed below (or if you need a copy of the image from the U.S. Postal Service), we strongly recommend that you contact the Rights and Permissions office before using USPS® property. To avoid unauthorized use, it is best to obtain permission through the Rights and Permissions process.
Generally, no prior permission is required for:
Noncommercial, educational uses limited to teaching, scholarship, and research.
Use in reporting current news in newspapers, news magazines, and news journals.
Philatelic Advertising Use
Use in advertising matter, circulars, or price lists to illustrate the postage stamps being sold or the postage stamps in the philatelic items being sold.
Credit Language: For all the aforementioned uses, users must cite the source of the image, the United States Postal Service®, and include language such as: "© United States Postal Service. All rights reserved."
All aforementioned uses must consist of the unaltered, original image or text as issued or published by the U.S. Postal Service. Any modification or alteration to an image or to text constitutes an unauthorized use.
The U.S. Postal Service has a statutory obligation to operate as a business and so vigorously defends its intellectual property rights. If you are uncertain about whether or not your intended use falls within the aforementioned situations (or if it simply does not), we strongly recommend that you contact the Rights and Permissions office before proceeding to use the U.S. Postal Service’s property.