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This LibGuide provides basic information about U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17) and discusses exemptions to exclusive rights.

Do I Need to Seek Permission?

1. Determine the copyright status of the work that you would like to use.

  • Is the work protected by copyright?
  • Maybe the work is the public domain?
  • Is the work a resource licensed for your use by the LLCC Library?
  • Perhaps the work is openly-licensed (look for a Creative Commons License)?

2. If the work is copyright-protected, not openly licensed, not in the public domain, and not licensed by the LLCC Library...?

3. If you determine that the work is copyright-protected, is not licensed for use by the LLCC Library, is not openly-licensed, and you cannot invoke fair use, then you need to seek permission to use the copyrighted work.

  • Determine who owns the copyright (this is who you will need to obtain permission from).
  • Determine which rights you need (out of the six exclusive rights protected under law).
  • Contact copyright owner and ask for permission. Sometimes you will need to go through a rights-management agency and will need to pay a fee to use copyrighted works. Sometimes the owner will share their work with you for free.
  • Get the terms of use in writing for documentation purposes and retain a copy!

It is not always easy to determine who holds copyright or find out who you should contact. Please feel free to contact Amanda Wiesenhofer, eResources & Library Systems Administrator, anytime you need assistance with this process! She is always more than happy to research the rights status of a work, and find out who owns the copyright and how to get a hold of the owner in order to seek permission. Please be aware that the library does NOT have funds to secure permission--this will need to come out of your own departmental budget. 

U.S. Copyright Office: Seeking Permission

"Asking for Permission" tutorial by Kenneth Crews, Columbia University Copyright Advisory Service, CC-BY License