This article reports the findings of a study of the impact of copyright on what U.S. archival repositories select for digitization and the extent to which they seek authorization from rights holders. Based on the website content of 96 repositories, 66 survey responses, and 18 interviews, the findings reveal a wide range of practice. While American repositories are generally conservative in that they digitize holdings that present no copyright complications, there is evidence of a shift from an item-level copyright analysis approach to a bolder risk-assessment approach that may better achieve the archival mission to make holdings available for use. The article identifies tools to support a risk-assessment approach and suggests areas of further research to identify best practices.

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