You don’t have to obtain permission to use a copyright item if it is: 

  • In the Public Domain
  • Covered by Fair Use
  • Covered by the TEACH Act


  1. Research Copyright Status
    1. Consult the copyright page on a book or the legal notice on a website to see who owns the copyright.
    2. If there is no copyright information, contact the author or publisher.
    3. Check for records on copyright registration for post 1977 works. 
    4. How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work
  2. Contact the Copyright Owner
    1. Include information on the work, such as author, editor or translator; title; edition; volume
    2. Explain the exact material you want to use, include the amount/portion of the work 
    3. Explain the use to be made of the material and the audience for which that use is intended
    4. Whether or not the material will be sold 
    5. Name and nature of your organization 
    6. Your name and contact details

For more information, visit the Copyright Office’s How to Obtain Permission

Consider Alternatives

Can you…

  1. Use another source? 
  2. If the library owns it, can you link to it? 
  3. If it is a freely available web source, can you link to it? 
  4. Can you use a portion that would satisfy Fair Use?