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Copyright and Fair Use: Getting Permission

Answers to common copyright questions asked by librarians and faculty


When deciding if you need permission to use a work, do the following:

  • Determine the work's copyright status
  • If the work is not covered by copyright, provide appropriate attribution and proceed
  • If the work is still covered by copyright, do a fair use analysis
  • If you believe your use is fair, you do not need to request permission. 
  • If your use is not fair, determine the copyright holder and request permission

Ways to Get Permission

When none of the exceptions apply, then permission to copy, distribute, display, adapt, perform, or transmit gets obtained from the rights holder. There are many ways to do this:

Many times rights holders will grant permission without charging a fee!

If you need help with locating the rights holder or discovering what rights may still apply, contact one of our librarians.