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In the event that you need to request permission to use a copyrighted work, you will first need to track down the copyright holder.
Tips for locating the copyright holder
Books, Articles, & Other Print Items
- Author(s) - The author may be the copyright holder. If the source has multiple authors, you may need to request permission from each one. Check for the copyright statement or information about the author(s). Sometimes the contact information for the author(s).
- Publisher - many authors transfer their copyrights when items are published. Some authors do this unknowingly. Check the publisher website. Most publishers will have a permission website where they will provide instructions on how to request permission. Most often, this will be electronically through an online form.
Movies & Music
In the event that you must request permission to use a copyrighted work, you must request permission from the copyright holder. This permission should be requested in writing and should include key pieces of information to make the process easier for you and the copyright holder. Your copyright letter should include the following pieces of information:
- Your name, address, telephone number, and fax number.
- Your title and the name of the college.
- The date of your request.
- A complete and accurate citation.
- A precise description of the proposed use of the copyrighted work as well as when it will be used, how it will be used, how long it will be used, approximate number of sections or courses it will be used in, and the approximate amount of students in each course or section.
- A signature line for the copyright holder including their title if they are representing a company and the date.
Although email is ok for permission, your letter will provide more legal protection if you have a written signature from the copyright holder.
If you send a letter, it is suggested that you send two copies – one to send back to you with the signature of the copyright holder and one for the copyright holder’s records. Also, you might want to include a return envelope fully addressed and stamped.
Keep the letter in your files for a minimum of 3-5 years. The statute of limitations for civil proceedings for copyright is three years. For criminal proceedings, it is 5 years. (Section 507, US Copyright Law)
The College of St. Scholastica Library provides assistance and guidance with copyright questions for CSS faculty, staff, and students. Please email Julie Rustad with your questions or visit our website for more information.
Legal Advice Disclaimer
The information presented in this guide is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not offered as legal advice or counsel. Faculty, staff, students, and others associated with the college should consult an attorney for advice concerning their individual copyright situations and needs.