Copyright and Legal Issues

Website content, including images and text, is subject to copyright law.

See the NREL copyright statement.

Restricted Content

Some types of information and data are restricted or should be reviewed by the NREL Legal Office before being published electronically. This includes:

  • Information that has not been previously published or cleared for publication
  • Data that is protected under the Privacy Act (e.g., medical, personnel, or security data)
  • Data that is defined as protected, proprietary, confidential, or business-sensitive
  • Information on contracts, subcontracts, CRADAs, licensing, or strategic partnership project agreements that has not been published previously
  • Personal home pages or pages that contain personal (non-NREL business) information
  • Patentable information or information contained in patent applications
  • Material that NREL intends to copyright
  • Material that NREL intends to trademark.

Web Content

The following chart can help determine what content is appropriate for the website.

Can I Publish It on the Web?

Information Type OK To Publish, IF: Otherwise, YOU MUST:
NREL report Was released through Scientific Publishing Go through Publishing process
Subcontractor report

Already published as a printed or electronic copy

Was released through Scientific Publishing

Obtained subcontractor's permission or subcontract required it

Go through Publishing process

Get subcontractor's permission or verify if required in subcontract

Presentation Was released through Scientific Publishing Go through Publishing process
Brochure or outreach document

Already published as a printed or electronic copy

Was released through Scientific Publishing

Not copyrighted

Go through Publishing process

Get permission of copyright owner

Material copyrighted by others* Obtained permission from copyright owner in writing Not do it!
Existing, previously unpublished research data or material You go through Publishing process Not do it!
Original new content (not a paper or other publication) Nothing sensitive or proprietary disclosed Go through Publishing process if any doubt
Photographs Image Gallery photo (that has no restrictions) Get permission from photo/copyright owner in writing and submit to Image Gallery
Surveys, questionnaires, interviews, polls, feedback mechanisms, and other means to collect data You diligently protect private information and create questions that are unbiased and voluntary. You may need to comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act if a federal agency has directed you to collect specific information from the public. Contact the enterprise manager for guidance. Not do it!

*Includes NREL-authored journal articles or conference papers

Reuse of NREL Photos and Videos

Photos taken by an NREL employees are copyrighted and belong to NREL/Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC as their employer. 

Photos and videos in the NREL Image Gallery are approved for reuse by outside individuals or entities if the reuse meets the terms outlined in the Image Gallery User Agreement. In some cases, a requester may ask for a signed form granting permission to reuse a photo. If a signature is required, send the form to