Requesting Permission

If the material you wish to use is under copyright protection and your intended use of the material falls outside the scope of fair use, you will need to acquire permission to use it. Be aware that some works have multiple copyright holders.

For Course Readings via eReserves or Direct Linking

For All Other Needs

Copyright permissions for materials not handled by the Library or the Bookstore are the responsibility of the individual or department seeking copyright permission, as are copyright fees for those materials.

Requesting Permissions directly from the Copyright Holder

For detailed information, including templates of letters requesting permission, consult Getting Permission: How to License & Clear Copyright Materials Online & Off by Richard Stim, available in the Library's reference collection at KR3024 .C6 S75. Or consult Requesting Permission, by the University of Columbia.

  1. First, determine who holds the copyrights. This is often either the publisher or the author. Formal copyright registrations (searchable at Copyright Records, Copyright Renewal Records, and Copyright Renewal Registrations (1950-1977) will list copyright owners.
  2. Contact the rights holder (if uncertain, start with the publisher, followed by the author or the author's estate if necessary). Some publishers will then want you to establish a license or Memorandum of Understanding (examples can be found in Getting Permissions, listed above). Here are some sample letters to use when contacting rights holders.
  3. Keep good records permanently, including copies of all correspondence. Should you be challenged on your use of the material, these records will become essential. 

Companies that negotiate permissions for you

  • The Copyright Clearance Center licenses print and digital works.
    The CCC maintains a database of available licenses that you can purchase. For works for which they do not already have a license, they will obtain one for you from the copyright holder unless they are unable to contact the copyright holder.
  • ASCAP licenses musical works.
    Search the ASCAP repertoire to see if they maintain the licensing rights for the work you wish to broadcast. Carleton College has a license with ASCAP that allows us to broadcast ASCAP titles on Carleton-owned media (no social media, such as YouTube or Facebook). For additional rights, you will need to obtain a separate license.
  • BMI licenses musical works.
    Search the BMI repertoire to see if they maintain the licensing rights for the work you wish to broadcast. Carleton College has a license with BMI that allows us to broadcast BMI titles on Carleton-owned media (no social media, such as YouTube or Facebook). For additional rights, you will need to obtain a separate license.
  • Other
    Contact us (copyright_goup@lists.carleton.edu) if you need to clear permissions that are not covered by the options above.

How long does it take to get copyright permissions?

The amount of time it takes to secure copyright permissions can vary quite a bit. The best advice is to allow as much time as possible to securing copyrights because some copyright permissions can take weeks or longer to clear.

How much will copyright permissions cost?

The cost of obtaining copyright permission varies from one copyright holder to another, and in most cases depends on the number of pages copied and the number of copies made. Copyright fees can be significant. For materials placed on eReserve, the Library will obtain copyright permission and fees will be covered by the College. Copyright fees for materials not handled by the Library or the Bookstore are the responsibility of the individual or department seeking copyright permission.