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Copyright Student Guide: Requesting Permission

The purpose of this Guide is to provide resources that assist students in understanding the basics of copyright and the general ways to avoid infringement.

Overview

It is always best practice to request permission to use works from the copyright owner.  This is especially true if you plan on posting the same work from semester to semester.

The process requires you to:

1.   Identify who is the copyright owner.  This may be the original author, a corporation, or a third party to which copyright was transferred.

2.   Identify the copyright owner's address.

3.   Requesting permission by describing the context in which the work will be used.

Keep in mind that the process may take weeks so it is best to start well in advance.

How to Request Permission

The following websites will walk you through the steps for requesting copyright permission:

Reaching a "Dead End"

It is plausible that you reach a "dead end" when trying to obtain permissions from a copyright owner.

This may happen because:

1. Despite diligent research efforts, you are unable to identify the owner of the work or their location. Such situations are referred to as "orphan works".

2. You received no response from the owner after submitting several written or online requests to last known publishers or addresses.

Possible actions are to:

1. Find alternative materials.

2. Evaluate for fair use or criteria under the TEACH Act.

Keep in mind that should they emerge, copyright owners may still hold you accountable for infringement.

Remember to always print and keep record documentation of your good faith efforts!

For more information on orphan works visit:

http://www.archivists.org/standards/OWBP-V4.pdf