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Copyright Basics: Permissions

Finding the Owner

To use copyrighted material you may need to find the owner to get permission.  The first step is to identify the copyright holder by looking at the copyright notice on the work it looks something like this:  Copyright © 2013, Lawrence Technological University.

To search for copyright information go here

Researching the Copyright Status of a Book: Protected or Public Domain from Columbia Copyright Advisory Office (CAO) provides detailed steps of the process.  Also many organizations can help you identify the owner of a copyright, contact them and secure their permission.

Searches can be very involved and difficult so CAO provides insights on Complex Searches.


Securing Copyright Permission

1.  Once you have identified the copyright holder you may need to contact them for permission.

   Publishers often have websites that tell you how to contact the copyright owner, so check the website for a permissions department or contact person.  Be sure you have the exact name and address of the addressee, and call the person or publishing house to confirm copyright ownership.

2.  Secure permission and write an effective letter. here are some model permission letters from CAO.

3.  Keep a record of everything you've done in case you are challenged.

Much, much more on permission from CAO.

What if you can't find the owner?

Need help? Contact the library at 248.204.3000 or email