Securing copyright permission
There are two ways to obtain permission to use copyrighted materials. You may either contact the copyright holder directly, or you may use a rights clearinghouse.
Whether you are contacting a rights holder directly, or using a clearinghouse, you will need to have the following information:
- Exact description/citation of the work to be used/copied
- Exact description of what rights you are requesting (how you plan to use the work); you must request (and pay, if applicable) for each type of right you request.
For example, if you are granted the right to use an image in a PowerPoint presentation, it doesn’t mean you have the right to use that image in a paper you are writing, unless you have also been granted that right.
If you choose to contact the rights holder directly, please:
- Use this sample letter (pdf) to guide your request.
- Get permission in writing – a telephone call or voicemail is not sufficient. E-mail is OK, but a physical signature is best.
- Give yourself plenty of time
If you choose to use a copyright clearinghouse, be aware that different clearinghouses deal with different types of works:
- For text/print materials (books, journal articles, etc), visit the Copyright Clearance Center
- For musical recordings, visit the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers or BMI
- For art images, visit the Artists Rights Society
The organizations listed here site do not represent every author/creator or type of work – if you are having trouble locating rights for a specific work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.