Obtaining Authorization to Use a Copyrighted Work

Obtaining authorization from a copyright owner to use a copyrighted work is usually not difficult but in some cases, may involve payment of a fee. The Association of American Publishers suggests that the following information be sent to the copyright owner (and/or to the publisher), with a self-addressed stamped envelope, to expedite the approval process:

  • Title, author and/or editor, and edition of materials to be duplicated.
  • Exact material to be used, giving amount, page numbers, reels, cassettes, chapters and, if possible, a photocopy of the material.
  • Number of copies to be made.
  • Use to be made of duplicated materials (including time period or duration if copying on an on-going basis is desired).
  • Form of distribution (classroom, newsletter, etc.).
  • Whether or not the material is to be sold.
  • Type of reprint (photocopy, offset, typeset, reproduced [media]).

Copyright Fees

It is advisable to allow sufficient lead time to obtain authorization prior to use. In some instances the copyright holder may assess a fee for permission, which may be passed on to students who receive copies of the copyrighted material.

Depending on the type of copyrighted material (e.g. poetry, music), permission may also be obtained (for a fee) by contacting organizations such as the Copyright Clearance Center, Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Harry Fox Agency, Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, Recording Industry Association of America, and The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Last Modified: 3/26/24