Getting permissions to use copyrighted material
1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use.
You will need to seek permission from the copyright holder of a work if you've determined that the material you want to use is protected by copyright, and your use does not fall under copyright exceptions like fair use.
2. Identify the copyright holder or agent.
For many publications, the publisher is the owner of the copyright and can grant permission for your use. Some publishers have online copyright permission pages that simplify the process. If the publisher is not the copyright owner, a publisher representative can often direct you to the copyright owner. For photographs or films, the copyright owners sometimes use licensing agents that will grant permission for your use, typically for a fee.
Depending on the work, permission may be required from more than one source. For example, if you wish to use a journal article with photographs, the photos’ copyrights may be owned by the photographer and not the article’s author.
3. Send a request for permission to use the material.
When sending a written request (in either hardcopy or digital form), it should include:
• precise identification of the material to be used, e.g. the title, author, and page numbers
• a photocopy of or link to the material
• the number of copies you wish to make
• the exact nature of the use, including form of distribution and whether the material will be sold
If you're having trouble…
If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), consider using alternative materials or limiting the amount so that your use qualifies as fair use.