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Obtaining Permission



When it is not clear if the use of a work would be considered fair use, it is best to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Certain permissions are granted free of charge. They are:

  • Requests for quotations from scholarly books where the extent of use may be greater than allowed by fair use.
  • Transcripts for the blind.
  • Requests for reproduction of portion of material to be used one time, in an experimental situation, or in a curricular development program
  • Requests for selections of a book or its illustrations for reviews or articles concerning a book.

How to get Permission to use a copyrighted works


Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)

CCC is a one-stop-shopping place for permission to copy text and print media. CCC has permission rights to over 1.75 million titles from 9,800 publishers. Colleges can request permission to copy materials either as photocopies or as electronic course packs, electronic reserves or distance learning. There is a charge associated with this service.

CCC can be contacted by visiting
Mailing Address : Copyright Clearance Center
222 Rosewood Drive
Danvers, MA 01923
Phone: (978) 750-8400
Email :

To use the services of CCC an account and credit line must be established. While seeking permission information such as title, author, date, edition, the portion of the work to be copied, and the "standard number" such as ISBN, ISSN or LCCN.

From Author or Publisher

Getting permission from the author is cheap but can prove difficult. It is not easy to get the address of the author. Most authors transfer their copyright to the publisher. In such a case permission must be sought from the publisher. It is easier to find the address of a publisher and hence request permission.

For Photographs or Images

Photographs are protected by copyright. Images and photos are considered to be entire works and most often will not be covered by fair use. Getting permission for photos and images is very difficult because information on the copyright holder is seldom available. It is easier to make your own pictures or locate images or photos that may be copied for free or for a fee. For example:

To play music in public

Anyone playing live or recorded music in public i.e. a place where a large group of people may be listening should get permission. The artist or publisher has the right to control only public performances. Permission is not needed for private performances.

Permission for live performances can be obtained from:

1. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
Telephone: (212) 621-6000

2. Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)
Telephone: (800) 925-8451

3. Society for European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC)
Telephone: (800) 826-9996 in Nashville
(212) 586-3450 in New York

4. Kohn on Music Licensing -

5. All music guide -

Permission for playing music sound recordings:

Contact Harry Fox Agency for a license for sound recording rights.

This is not a legal document and is provided for informational use only