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How to Get Copyright Permission to Use a Work

Before following these steps, please consult chapter 5 of this guide, "When Copyright Permission Is Needed."

  1. For public performance of an audio-visual work, please contact Buswell Library's video coordinator, 630.752.5620, video.coordinator@wheaton.edu. For public performance of a stage play, consult with faculty members in the Communication department.
  2. For all other purposes, identify the copyright holder. Many works provide this information in a copyright notice on the item itself. The records of the U.S. Copyright Office may be searched at http://www.copyright.gov. Stanford University Library also makes available a database of copyright-renewal records at http://collections.stanford.edu/copyrightrenewals.
  3. If the copyright holder can be identified, look for instructions on the holder's Web site. If the copyright holder does not provide instructions or if the holder is an individual, send a written letter as shown in chapter 10 of this guide, "Sample Permission Request Letter."
  4. If the copyright holder or contact information cannot be identified, place your request through the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com or:
  5. The copyright holder may decide to charge you for permission. You are free to negotiate the price. Permissions received through agencies will almost certainly come with a non-negotiable fee.
  6. Keep records of all correspondence. If you receive oral permission from the copyright holder, follow up with a written confirmation.
  7. It is good form to publicly thank copyright holders for permissions received. This is often done in an acknowledgements section of the new work you create or publish.
  8. Note that failure to receive permission (for example, when the copyright holder does not respond to your request) does not necessarily justify the use of a work.

Table of Contents | Chapter 8 | Chapter 10