Use of Images

Visual Material at the Institute for the History of Frankfurt

The Institute for the History of Frankfurt contains numerous collections of images, including 2 million photographs, prints and drawings, posters, postcards, maps as well as street and road maps. You are welcome to view and use this material, provided that the relevant domains are sufficiently well indexed and there are no conservation reasons to prevent access. Access is dependent on the Hessian Archives Act, the Statutes of the Institute and various further legal provisions.

© Institut für Stadtgeschichte/s7a1998-639

Legal requirements

Under German legislation the right to publish, exploit, copy, distribute and exhibit a given work lies entirely with its originator. An originator may, however, assign the relevant rights of use to third parties and may permit them to use the material for a limited period of time or within a defined geographical space. Copyright only expires 70 years after the originator’s death, during which time it is held by the deceased person’s heirs or legal successors. The utilisation rights on many of the images are held by the Institute. However, there are also other images where the originator is not known or where the rights of use are unclear. In such cases the material may only be used on condition that the City of Frankfurt is indemnified against potential third-party claims. If individuals are recognisable on images, they are often also subject to a “right to their own image”. Such images may only be published with the consent the person depicted. If he or she is no longer alive, consent must be obtained from their next of kin until 10 years after the depicted person’s death. This means that we are permitted to display certain images for viewing in the Reading Room, but we cannot release them for publication. The only exceptions are persons relating to contemporary history and photographs of crowds at events.

Viewing visual material and obtaining a usage licence

Visual material may be viewed during normal opening hours. As images are not presented in the Reading Room, we should be grateful if you could make an appointment for this purpose with the relevant staff member. To prepare for your visit, we require specific details of the topic you are looking for and the relevant period of time. Any use that goes beyond mere viewing must have the Institute’s approval. Please note that when you obtain a usage licence, this does not entail any ownership rights or copyrights on the visual material. It merely gives you the right to use the material as specified in the agreement.

© Institut für Stadtgeschichte/s7c1998-855

Use for private purposes

You can use selected photographs for purely private purposes, provided that you sign a declaration of consent concerning the terms of use. This entitles you to take photos of those images (no flash!) with a camera brought along by yourself or, alternatively, to obtain a scan from us.
You are not permitted to pass images on to third parties, to publish them in print or online, to make commercial use of the material, to submit it to competitions, etc.


If you wish to publish visual material (on paper, online, etc.), we can issue a usage licence which covers no more than one specific occasion, as detailed. Publication is only permitted if the holder of exploitation rights has given their consent to this effect or if the image is so old that all copyright claims have expired or if no one is affected in their right to their own image. If the legal position is unclear, e.g. if the originator is unknown, but if you nevertheless want to make use of an image, you must indemnify the City of Frankfurt against all third-party claims. Any publication must be accompanied by the precise signature mark of the image and, if known, the name of the originator. In addition, a complimentary copy must be sent to the Institute.


Digitisation, publication and extensive searches are subject to the Scale of Charges and Fees of the Institute for the History of Frankfurt. No charges are payable for online searches in our steadily growing image database, ISG Bild.
We do, however, require you to pay a so-called usage charge for any publication of our visual material. Unless expressly otherwise stated in writing, this only covers one-time use as detailed in the agreement, e.g. publishing the material in a specific edition and in a specific country. Any further use – including electronic media (CD, internet, etc.) – would require our prior consent and would be subject to another fee. Copies, too, are subject to fees.

© ISG S14Z2002 00225, Foto: Heinz Zipp

Further details

The Scale of Charges and Fees and further details on the legal framework can be found under Costs & Law.