There are many considerations that go into requesting the permission of a copyright owner to use their owned works. We advise that you reach out early, as some copyright owners are hard to reach or fail to respond in time.
Explore the following sections to determine how best to reach out to copyright owners, and take a look at the available documents at the end for templates for obtaining permissions.
Materials typically requiring permission
Methods for obtaining permission
The following list describes materials that need to be investigated and may require permission from the copyright holder. Unless the material has a license where the use is permitted (e.g., Creative Commons license), is in the public domain, or is considered “fair” after a fair dealing analysis, you will need to seek permission. The following list is not exhaustive, and using other substantial amounts of copyright-protected work may require permission:
You should keep track of materials as their work is being written. For various reasons, replies to permission requests may be quick or take a long time. It is important to begin asking for permissions as soon as possible and keep records of your interactions.
To figure out who to contact:
Some copyright permissions may need to be requested from individuals, governments, or organizations. You will need to go to the work or website to determine who best to contact. You may need to try several different contact points (e.g., emails or phone numbers) to determine who to write to to obtain permission.
If you are having difficulties identifying the copyright owner or obtaining permission, please contact the Copyright Office for help.
Please use the following templates as a basis for your copyright correspondence. Make sure you save all emails for future reference in case anyone calls the copyright permissions into question.
Do you have questions? Want to learn more? Contact the Copyright Office
The information on this website is provided as guidance for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.
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