If your proposed use of a copyrighted work does not fall within any of the categories described earlier, you must obtain permission to use the copyrighted materials. Permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or the holder’s agent.
Obtaining permission can take time. Submit requests as early as possible so that if your request is denied or the license fee is too high, you will have time to choose other materials or limit the use so that it qualifies for fair use.
Sample Permission Request Forms:
The copyright holder of a text is typically the author or publisher of the work. If you want permission to use a journal article or an excerpt from a book, one place to begin is by contacting the Copyright Clearance Center. CCC is the largest licensor of text reproduction rights in the world. It grants licenses for the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted materials in print and electronic formats throughout the world, including for classroom use, course packs (hard copy and electronic), reserves and distance learning.
If CCC doesn’t handle the material for which you are seeking permission, or if you think you may be able to negotiate a better deal through a direct contact, you should contact the copyright holder. You can typically find the name of the copyright holder on the page with the copyright notice. The following resources should help you in finding and contacting the correct copyright holder:
The Authors Registry handles copyright permissions and royalties for many freelance writers, writers’ organizations and literary agencies.
The WATCH File (Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders) is a database containing primarily the names and addresses of copyright holders or contact persons for authors and artists whose archives are housed, in whole or in part, in libraries and archives in North America and the United Kingdom. WATCH is a joint project of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Reading Library, Reading, England.
Other Copyrightable Works
Some resources for seeking permission to use other types of copyrighted works are:
Comics & Cartoons
Film & TV
Contact the movie studio or television station.
20th Century-Fox Clip Licensing Department: (310) 369-3605
MGM Clip & Still Licensing. The FAQs on this site give a good description of the permissions that may be required in addition to that of the studio (e.g., actor, director, writer, stunt person, etc.)
Paramount Pictures Film Clip Licensing: 323-956-5184
Sony Pictures Entertainment Film Clip & Still Licensing. Handles licensing of materials (feature film clips, stills, posters, dialogue, etc.) owned or controlled by Sony Pictures Entertainment or its companies Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.
Swank Motion Pictures issues public performances licenses to educational institutions for many popular and classic films.
Universal Studios Media Licensing
Walt Disney Studios Licensing Website
Warner Bros Clip & Still Licensing Department. Handles licensing of materials from Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Turner Entertainment Co., Castle Rock Entertainment, and Hanna Barbera Feature, Television and animation libraries.
Contact the publisher. You can obtain publisher information at the on-line databases of these performing rights organizations:
Rachel Durkin, Manager of the Performing Arts Center at the University of Texas, Austin, has written a helpful article on Obtaining Rights to Perform a Play or Musical.
The major play/musical publishing houses are:
The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts
Artists Rights Society represents the intellectual property rights interests of over 30,000 visual artists and estates of visual artists from around the world (painters, sculptors, photographers, architects and others).
Visual Artists and Galleries Association, Inc. (VAGA) is an artists’ rights organization and copyright collective representing reproduction rights for approximately 500 American artists and, through agreements with affiliated organizations in other countries, thousands of foreign artists worldwide.