How do I get permission to use a copyrighted work?
If you are seeking to use a copyrighted work, you may have to obtain permission from the copyright owner. The owner may be the original creator of the work or that personís employer. The original author may also have transferred the copyright to a publisher or some other party. In some instances, you may contact the owner directly. In other cases, you can secure permission on behalf of the owner by contacting an industry licensing agency or a publisher. Sometimes, the copyright owner may require a fee or impose other conditions. You have to decide if the cost and conditions are acceptable, and you should feel free to negotiate. Keep in mind that permission is not necessary if:
- your use is within fair use or another copyright exception;
- the work is not protected by copyright at all; or
- your use is within the terms of a license agreement, including, for example, a Creative Commons license from the author.
A good starting point is visiting Copyright.com, a licensing company for a number of publishers. There a licensing fee can be determined for a work based on a number of factors, including the nature of the work, how long it will be used, and how many students will be using it. If the fee is acceptable, then it can be paid online and the work used immediately. If a work cannot be found on Copyright.com, then you should contact the publisher of the work. Most publishers have information about licensing fees and contacts on their website.