Copyright Policy V7

Version 7 Revised 10/5/11


1. Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Rationale

2. Copyrighted Works 
2.1 Requirement for Copyright 
2.2 Copyright Notice 
2.3 Permissions 
2.4 Definitive Versions and Revisions 
2.5 Rights Retained by Authors 
2.6 Fixity of Works 
2.7 Solicited Works 
2.8 Edited Collections 
2.9 Coverage

3. ACM Permissions Policy
3.1 Objectives of this Policy 
3.2 General Permissions Policy 
3.3 Permission for Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material 
3.4 Permission for Commerical Republish 
3.5 Fees 
3.6 Access to Copyrighted Works
3.7 Links
3.8 Distributions from non-ACM Servers
3.9 Production of Digitized Copies
3.10 Rights Retained by Authors
4. Processes


1.1 Background

ACM began moving its publication operations from paper-only to electronic distribution from a structured database in 1994. With the initial ACM Interim Copyright Policy in 1994, ACM aligned itself with author and reader practices in the world-wide Internet, and became the first scientific publisher to adopt copyright policies for cyberspace.
Since 1994, ACM's copyright and permission policies have been widely used as a model by other publishers in adapting their own policies to the ever-changing realities of electronic dissemination. ACM intends to continue review of its policies as technology and practices evolve. Nonetheless, with this latest update of ACM's Policy, we are dropping "Interim" from its title, as it suggests something more temporary than experience indicates.
This document supersedes all previous statements of ACM copyright and Permissions policies. Permission is granted to other publishers to adapt this policy for your use with acknowledgement to ACM.

1.2 Rationale

The goal of ACM's publications program is to deliver quality content and services at the lowest prices consistent with a vibrant and fiscally healthy organization. ACM aims to serve readers' and authors' interests by publishing high-quality original works, maintaining the integrity of these works, defending authors' rights in them against plagiarism, providing a stable means of linking to them, promoting the dissemination of these works to the widest possible readership in contemporary media, and preserving access to them indefinitely despite changes in technology. ACM embraces a not-for-profit business model that aims to assure a sustainable revenue for the continued operation and enhancement of the ACM Publications Program and the ACM Digital Library while making ACM publications available to a wide audience.

ACM publishing uses a process of selection, editorial refinement, production, distribution and access, promotion, indexing, interlinking, functional enhancement, user support, and preservation that requires the coordinated efforts of all participants in the knowledge chain, together with their support structures, and costs a significant amount of money. Most of these costs exist regardless of whether content is published in print or electronically. In order to derive sufficient revenue to support the ACM publishing process, ACM charges fees for access to most of its publications.

When readers access ACM works through the ACM Digital Library, print subscription, or other licensed distribution mechanism, they can be assured that they are accessing the definitive version of a work rather than an early draft or a later unreviewed version. They can be further assured that the version they are accessing will be permanently available.

Although ACM grants authors certain rights to post author-prepared versions of their work covered by ACM copyright, ACM requires that authors include the ACM copyright statement in these works, as well as a reference to the definitive version in the ACM Digital Library. By including the reference to the ACM Digital Library, they alert readers to the availability of the definitive version of the work. ACM desires that users of ACM copyrighted works in electronic form access those works through ACM, and not through alternative services which have not been authorized by ACM to redistribute the works.

In exchange for the venue, the visibility, and services ACM provides in publishing their work, authors grant ACM the rights to their work, which include the exclusive rights to sell subscriptions and access licenses to it. ACM's bargain with authors and readers is reflected in the ACM Copyright and Permissions Policies, the Roles and Responsibilities in ACM Publishing, and in the care invested in making quality works readily accessible through reasonable pricing and tools that facilitate research uses. In the spirit of this bargain, ACM asks authors and readers alike to support ACM's publishing program by abiding by the ACM Copyright and Permissions Policies.

ACM firmly believes that it achieves a balance among divergent goals; that its use of copyright within its publishing program in fact serves the public good by enabling the creation and widespread dissemination of quality works in various formats and media.


ACM requires authors to assign their copyrights to ACM as a condition of publishing the work. Copyright ownership allows ACM to provide a viable and sustainable Digital Library to its members and the public and to act against unauthorized attempts to duplicate ACM's Digital Library.

While some other publishers have adopted licensing arrangements, ACM relies on copyright transfer. ACM finds copyright transfer more straightforward and easier to administer. In licensing arrangements, all the specific acts for which permission is sought must be forseen and stipulated. A transfer with an explicit set of author-retained rights is less likely to lead to false assumptions about what the "owner" may do with the work after signing an exclusive permissions license. ACM treats the transferred copyrights as the basic means of obtaining the right to publish; to create and deliver the Digital Library; to further disseminate works by acting as a single source for blanket republication requests, such as aggregated collections or translations, and the delivery of the material to the requesting party; to protect works from plagiarism and any other unauthorized uses; and to sustain and develop its publishing program by selling subscriptions or charging for access to its collections.

ACM requires that authors have the authority to transfer copyright, or that they obtain the necessary authorization to execute the transfer. Such transfer applies to any medium used by ACM for publication. The ACM copyright transfer leaves many important rights with the original owner.

Authors must transfer copyright to ACM upon acceptance.

Immediately after acceptance, authors must incorporate the ACM copyright notice and ACM citation of the publication into copies they personally maintain on non-ACM servers.

The author's copyright transfer applies only to the work as a whole, and not to any embedded objects owned by third parties. An author who embeds an object, such as an art image that is copyrighted by a third party, must obtain that party's permission to include the object, with the understanding that the entire work may be distributed as a unit in any medium. The requirement to obtain third-party permission does not apply if the author embeds only a link to the copyright holder's definitive version of the object.

Authors who wish to embed a component of another ACM-copyrighted work, e.g., an excerpt, a table, or a figure, must obtain explicit permission from ACM. (See also §3.7 Links.)

In special cases where an author or author's employer must retain copyright, or when ACM does not wish to give its imprimatur to a particular work, ACM may accept a release from the owner that grants ACM the permission it needs to publish the work.

The ACM copyright notice must be displayed on the first page or initial screen of a display of all works copyrighted by ACM, whether those works are published in print or in a digital medium. It is acceptable to place the string "© Copyright YYYY by ACM, Inc." as a hypertext link to the full copyright notice in digital media, <>.

ACM COPYRIGHT NOTICE. Copyright © YYYY by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept., ACM, Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481,

2.3 Permissions

ACM publications staff will monitor for requests for permission and releases under this policy. Persons granted permission to copy an ACM work must display with the copy "© YYYY ACM, Inc. Included here by permission."

Refer to §3 ACM Permissions Policy for specific permissions and types of use.

As a matter of professional courtesy, the lead author of any ACM copyrighted work is consulted in weighing requests from third parties for permission to republish.

2.4 Definitive Versions and Revisions

ACM will create and maintain a definitive version of ACM-copyrighted works. ACM maintains bibliographic-reference Web pages for all works published in its Digital Library. These pages, free and open to the public, contain the work's bibliographic citation, abstract, indexing data, reviews, and links to the definitive version. The DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is the proper link to a work in the Digital Library.

As part of their retained rights, authors may revise their ACM-copyrighted work. If the new work is substantially developed, it is considered a new derivative work. The author owns the copyright in the new work and may do as she wishes with it. The author must incorporate a citation to the previous work with a notice

"This work is based on an earlier work: TITLE, in PUBLICATION, {VOL#, ISS#, (DATE)} © ACM, YYYY."

If the work is a minor revision, copyright remains with ACM and the notice should read

"© ACM, YYYY. This is a minor revision of the work published in PUBLICATION, {VOL#, ISS#, (DATE)}"

The appropriate notice should appear both within the document and in the metadata associated with the document.

Authors may post these revisions on their Home Pages and their employer's internal server if the employer owned the work prior to transfer to ACM.

To distinguish between a new derivative work and a minor revision, ACM uses, respectively, a rule of greater than or less than 25% changed. Obviously, word counts are not an absolute measure. The author is in the best position to judge when a work is merely revised or offers a significant new contribution.

Under the ACM copyright transfer agreement, the original copyright holder retains:

  • all other proprietary rights to the work such as patent
  • the right to reuse any portion of the work, without fee, in future works of the author's own*, including books, lectures and presentations in all media, provided that the ACM citation and notice of the Copyright are included
  • the right to revise the work (See §2.4 Definitive Versions and Revisions), and
  • the right to post author-prepared versions of the work covered by ACM copyright in a personal collection on their own Home Page and on a publicly accessible server of their employer, and in a repository legally mandated by the agency funding the research on which the Work is based. Such posting is limited to noncommercial access and personal use by others, and must include this notice both embedded within the full text file and in the accompanying citation display as well:

"© ACM, YYYY. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in PUBLICATION, {VOL#, ISS#, (DATE)}"

  • the right of an employer that originally owned copyright to distribute definitive copies of its author-employees work within its organization. Posting these works for world access requires explicit permission from ACM.

  • the right to post a unique link using the Author-Izer ACM Linking Service on either the author’s homepage or Institutional Repository (wherever the author’s bibliography is maintained) which enables free access from that location to the definitive version of the work permanently maintained in the ACM Digital Library

Re-use of third-party material contained in ACM copyrighted works always requires the consent of the copyright holder, as ACM's copyright does not cover third-party material.

Authors or their employers may retain copyright to embedded images (e.g., figures) with independent artistic value. Authors must grant permission for ACM to use the image in the context of the article in current and future formats. Such images must be declared at the time of article copyright transfer, and declaration of copyright must be included within the image or the caption.

*Requests made on behalf of others, i.e., for contributions to the work of other authors or other editors, may require payment of the fee.

2.6 Fixity of Works

ACM does not alter works once published. There are times, however, when it is appropriate to publish a revised or corrected version of a work; doing so requires the approval of the responsible editor.

2.7 Solicited Works

From time to time, ACM solicits works for publication. Examples are columns, invited works, award lectures, and keynote speeches. ACM asks authors of such works not to distribute copies or post these works on their Home Pages until ACM has published them. Authors who wish to circulate before publication should get permission from ACM. ACM considers lectures and speeches to be published at the time they are given.

2.8 Edited Collections

Edited collections such as conference proceedings and newsletters are copyrighted as a whole by ACM. In some cases, such as conference proceedings, the individual components are also copyrighted by ACM. In other cases, notably newsletters, copyrights of some components will be retained by authors. In the latter case, ACM will obtain a license from each author that permits publication in both print and online forms, and also grants ACM the right to transform the work into any formats as necessary for use within the ACM Digital Library.

No ACM-copyrighted collection may be posted for open distribution without prior permission from ACM and before it has been included in the ACM Digital Library. Approved distributions must include a notice of this permission along with the ACM copyright notice.

2.9 Coverage

The ACM copyright transfer statement grants ACM the right "to publish the work in whole or in part in any and all media."

3. ACM Permissions Policy

3.1 Objectives of this Policy

This policy sets forth the liberal conditions under which ACM grants permission for copying or distribution, and the conditions under which ACM requires prior permission and/or a fee.

ACM has the following goals in developing a comprehensive permissions policy:

  • Spread awareness of works by indexing and abstracting them in various media.
  • Facilitate classroom and other educational use.
  • Professionally manage the process of applying copyright policy to specific permission cases
  • Resolve all requests for reuse promptly.
  • Support hard-copy interlibrary loan.
  • Ease development of value-added derivatives of ACM copyrighted works.
  • Return any net revenues directly to the computing community through other ACM projects.

3.2 General Permissions Policy

ACM grants gratis permission for individual digital or hard copies made without fee for use in academic classrooms and for use by individuals in personal research and study. No further reproduction or distribution is allowed without explicit permission.
All copies must carry the original citation, the ACM copyright and notice of permission on the first page or initial screen of the document without exception. (See §2.2 Copyright Notice)

Requestors may expect a response to their inquiry within three business days. A complete reply may take longer, depending on the volume of requests received and their complexity.

  3.3 Educational and Library Uses of Copyrighted Material


Definition of classroom use: Copying and distributing single works by a university/college instructor, where no fee is charged to the students, and the distribution is limited to students enrolled in a university/college course and their instructors.

  • Course Material- Permission granted without fee if the course material is produced without charge to the student. (See Commercially produced Course Packs below.)

  • Electronic Reserves - Permission granted without fee provided the library or institution has an authentication mechanism for controlled access to the server and a license to the ACM-copyrighted work. A college, university or other accredited institution may place a single copy of a definitive version of the work in its library's electronic reserves for the duration of its educational needs for that work, provided that access is limited to its enrolled students (including those in its distance learning programs), faculty, and staff. Those institutions without a current license to the work should contact

  • Distance Learning - Permission granted without fee for distance learning students enrolled at the institution. They have the same access rights to those ACM copyrighted materials licensed by their institution as any other student. Since institutional access is authenticated by IP address, it is up to the institution to provide a proxy server for its remote users, and to register the IP address of that proxy with ACM.

  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - Permission granted without fee for an institution with an ACM Digital Library license to download and print works for Interlibrary Loan. The Digital Library may be used as the source for the printed copy. The loan of the work is limited to printed copies, as part of normal library functions under CONFU Guidelines. Electronic dissemination is not allowed.
  • Walk-Ins - Permission granted without fee for access to all ACM publications, print or electronic, by all members of the community which a subscribing library is charted to serve.

3.4 Commercial Republication

Definition of commercial republication: Any use that is not personal or non-profit educational use. Includes reprinting by trade and scholarly publishers, and use in corporate settings and their web sites both internal and external. No direct profit need be realized from the publication or sale of ACM material.

Commercial use requires all of the above stipulations, including payment of a copyright release fee for non-exclusive, one-time use of the work. Additional uses in various media, subsequent editions and translations require an additional permission and fee payable to ACM.
All reproductions other than those listed above in 4.5 Educational Uses require specific permission and a fee payable to ACM. This includes republishing in textbooks, commercially-produced course packs, anthologies, and other edited publications, and posting or other electronic distributions.

  • Commerically Produced Course Packs - Use of copyrighted material in course paks requires an appropriate license from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). Send requests to or fax to +1 978.750.4744 or phone +1 978.750.8400. Requests received at ACM HQ are referred to the CCC.
  • Print permission - A grant of permission involves consultation with the lead author of the work, the publisher's agreement to pay the required fees, and prominent display of the proper credit acknowledgment.
  • Electronic permission - Rules for commercial distribution will apply unless the request falls under educational use as defined above. The term for internal and external commercial posting of ACM copyrighted material is generally limited to six months, but may be extended for an additional fee. All postings must include pointers to the correct Citation Page in the ACM Digital Library.
  • Multiple copies - Producing multiple copies of ACM copyrighted works for distribution to peers, co-workers, clients, etc. requires a transactional license from the CCC and payment of the required per copy fee. Send requests to or fax to +1 978.750.4744 or phone +1 978.750.8400.
  • Software 

Software published by ACM is subject to the Software License Agreement (SLA). Commercial license for use of ACM algorithms requires payment of a license fee, and a small royalty payment if required by the original author(s). Contact for details. Sublicense Agreements requires additional fee and signature of sublicensee.

3.5 Fees

The fees for reprinting full text works (or revised works) from ACM publications are as follows. The fees quoted are for one-time use in a single medium. Multiple uses require additional fees. Fees are subject to change without notice.

Work Price
Work current to two years old $200
Work  more than two years old $100
Excerpt greater than 500 words $100
Excerpt less than 500 words $50
Figure or Table $25
Art designed by ACM $100
Freelance artwork artist determines fee
Software $500 flat fee (plus royalty negotiated at author's request)

3.6 Access to copyrighted works

ACM will hold its copyrighted works on its servers and gives free and unlimited permission to create and copy links to those works. Readers following links may freely browse metadata and abstracts of the work. Access to the full text of the work is usually by subscription, license, transaction fee, or the Author-Izer ACM Linking Service. A person holding a copy may not replicate that copy or send it to others unless the copy carries explicit permission for further replication or dissemination.

ACM treats links as citations (references to objects) rather than as incorporations (embedding of objects). Permission is not needed to create links to citations in The ACM Digital Library or Online Guide to Computing Literature. ACM encourages the widespread distribution of links to the definitive versions of its copyrighted works in the ACM Digital Library and does not require that authors obtain prior permission to include such links in their new works.

However, someone who creates a work or a service whose pattern of links substantially duplicates a copyrighted work should get prior permission from the copyright holder. One example: the creator of "A Table of Contents for the Current Issue of TODS" -- consisting of citations and active links to author-versions of the works in the latest issue of TODS -- needs ACM permission because that creator is reproducing an ACM-copyrighted work. If all the links in the "Table of Contents" pointed to the ACM-held definitive versions, ACM would normally give permission because then the new work advertises an ACM work. To avoid misunderstandings, consult with ACM before duplicating an ACM work via links.
If an author wishes to embed a copyrighted object---rather than a link---in a new work, that author needs to obtain the copyright holder's permission.

3.8 Distributions From non-ACM Servers

Service Providers

Service providers do not need to obtain prior permission from ACM to locate and dispense links to the ACM-held definitive versions of works, but they do need permission if they are making, collecting, or distributing copies of ACM-copyrighted works.

Electronic Access and Public Repositories (See also Section 2.5)

Access to the full text of ACM works is by subscription through the ACM Digital Library. Metadata for the work, including citations, abstracts, index terms, reviews, references, the citing works, comments, author profiles, and institutional profiles, are all available to the general public through the ACM Digital Library.

ACM is open to requests for permission to post ACM copyrighted works to pre-publication servers for the purpose of early dissemination. ACM does not generally grant permission to post ACM copyrighted works on other servers acting as public repositories that compete with the ACM Digital Library.

Individuals often distribute copies of works authored by themselves or by others. Distribution may consist of sending copies to a mailing list or of posting a copy on a server where it is accessible to others who might copy it. Such electronic distributions and postings of ACM-copyrighted works are acts of copying and require ACM permission, unless explicitly allowed under other provisions of this policy. When in doubt, contact

Authors and their employers who have transferred copyright to ACM may post author-prepared versions of their works and revisions as specified in Sections2.42.5 and 2.6.

Anyone who legitimately obtains a copy of an ACM-copyrighted work may use the copy only for non-commercial classroom or personal use, as specified in the ACM copyright notice, unless further permission has been granted by ACM.

3.9 Production of Digitized Copies

Persons who have permission under these policies to make copies may elect to digitize a print copy and to distribute the digitized copy. Because digitizing processes such as OCR (optical character recognition) are error-prone, this disclaimer must be included with the ACM copyright notice on each digitized copy:
This is a digitized copy derived from an ACM-copyrighted work. ACM did not prepare this copy and does not guarantee that it is an accurate copy of the originally published work.

3.10 Rights Retained by Authors (See §2.5)


ACM has set high standards for all aspects of the publishing process. These standards are to be found in the Roles and Responsibilities in ACM Publishing. Specific ACM policies against republication and simultaneous submission may found in the ACM Policy on Simultaneous Submissions and Republication.



ACM Copyright Policy

ACM Copyright Policy Versions
Version 10, 11/12/20 Version 9, 1/12/16
Version 8 , 4/2/11 Version 7 , 10/5/11
Version 6 , 1/27/11 Version 5 , 3/31/09
Version 4 , 11/1/02 Version 3 , 11/15/98
Version 2 , 11/15/95 Version 1 , 12/1/94


© 1994, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2020 by ACM, Inc. Permission to copy and distribute this document is hereby granted provided that this notice is retained on all copies, that copies are not altered, and that ACM is credited when the material is used to form other copyright policies.