Our copyright permissions sample letter will help you draft your own template for obtaining consistent copyright permissions. This article teaches you how to contact a copyright owner to obtain permission to use their copyright-protected work. It also sets out a copyright permissions sample letter. If you’re including images on your blog or using articles in a seminar or in presentation slides or on your website, you may need to obtain copyright permission. Learn how to contact a copyright owner and what to ask for in your permissions request or letter.
How to Contact a Copyright Owner for Permission
Do you need permission to use an illustration or photograph on your website?
Are you making multiple copies of an article for use in a seminar?
Are you posting a video clip on your blog?
These are just some of the many situations in which you may be seeking copyright permission directly from a copyright owner. (Check the copyright law in your country and determine whether your use requires permission or there’s an exception in the law for your particular use.)
How should you contact the copyright owner? It depends on the information you have about that copyright owner. For example, do you have the person’s telephone number? If so, you might call them, then follow-up with a written permission letter. Or you may prefer to email or mail by regular post a permissions request letter, including the details of your use of the content. However you obtain the copyright permission, it’s best to have a written document as evidence of the permission obtained. Below is a copyright permissions sample letter.
What your copyright permissions letter should look like
There are no standard forms or exact wording to use in your copyright permissions request letter, though there are a number of things your request for permission should address. At a minimum, considering including the following items in your copyright permissions request letter:
- A description of who you are
- An accurate yet brief identification of the copyright-protected material in question
- How you will use the content
- Where you will use the content (e.g., in a seminar, book, course materials or online)
- For how long you will use the content
Whether you offer payment for that use is your choice. (The rights holder, of course, may ask for payment for use of their work whether you offer payment or not.)
If you’re sending the permissions request by regular mail, include two copies of the copyright permissions letter and enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for the convenience of the rights holder. If the request is by email, ask the copyright owner to print the email, sign it and return it to you (scanning the signed copy is generally fine).
Copyright Permissions Sample Letter
Here is a simple copyright permissions sample letter. Use it as your starting board or template and adjust the wording so it best fits your situation.
Dear Content Owner:
We understand that you are the content holder of an article titled “The Mountains of North America” originally published in Great Parks Journal on pages 16-28 in the Fall 2018 issue.
ABC Corporation would like to include the above-mentioned article in a research report undertaken by our employees, which will be distributed for free in print to the 1,000 members of the Mountain Association in California. The report will also be posted on our corporate intranet. Proper acknowledgement will be included with the reproduction of the article.
If you agree to provide us with permission, please sign both copies of this permission letter and return one copy to us by email (a scanned version is fine) or regular mail.
We appreciate your consideration of our permissions request.
David Denson, Permissions Officer
By signing below, I warranty that I have the right to grant the permission requested herein, and that I hereby provide you with that permission.
Checklist for your Standard Copyright Permissions Letter
The above letter is one sample of a copyright permissions letter. By undertaking an internet search, you’ll likely discover many different kinds of sample permission request letters. Review these letters and use them as inspiration for writing your own standard copyright permissions letter.
Below are items gathered from reviewing various permission request letters. Which items fit within your needs and culture and make sense to include in the permission letter you’re drafting.
- Title of the source where the material is published or otherwise found (book, magazine, painting title, website, etc.)
- Creator/author/owner of the materials
- Description of the material
- Page number(s) of the material (if appropriate)
- ISBN (in the case of a book) or ISSN (in the case of a magazine) or URL (if a website)
- Date of publication
- Purpose for which you wish to use the material (research, commercial, educational, presentation, etc.)
- How the item will be reproduced (photocopied, re-typed, scanned, posted online, etc.)
- Length of time the material will be used
- Expected publication date
- Target audience for use of the material
- Where the material will appear (on a website, in an online or print-based course, etc.)
- Acknowledgement, if any, to be given to the author and/or original publication
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