How to seek copyright permission

  • The first step in seeking permission to use copyrighted work is to determine, to the extent possible, whether it is still in copyright. (See information on public domain, formalities, and copyright terms.) The second step is to determine the rights holder. Many publishers have information on their web sites explaining how to seek permission. In addition, consider whether fair use, or another copyright exception, applies for your situation.
  • Seeking permission can be a time-consuming process, and it is best to start well ahead of when the license is needed. Many rights holders will want as much information as possible about the intended use.  Remember that a lack of response from the rights holder does not equal consent. Optimally, permission should be obtained in writing.