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Copyright Decision Tree

Seeking Permission

If your intended use of copyrighted work is not covered by Fair Use or one of the exemptions, you should seek permission from the copyright owner.

  1. Identify the Copyright Owner: In academic publishing, the author may have transferred their copyrights to the publisher. Be sure that you are seeking permission from someone who can actually grant it.
  2. Contact the Copyright Owner: Publishers may have instructions or a contact posted on their website for securing permissions. There are also companies that license work a group of holders, such as the Copyright Clearance Center. You will want to detail the specific work you are referencing and any and all planned uses of the work.
  3. Keep a Record: If you are successful in obtaining permission, keep any of the related correspondence. If you are not successful in obtaining permission, you may want to still retain related correspondence to demonstrate a good faith attempt to contact the copyright owner.

There are several excellent resources online that identify potential copyright-holding groups, provide sample request text, and other guidance for obtaining permission: