Before using material created by someone else on your Web site, it is necessary to obtain permission. You will need permission for the use of images, video, audio, and some printed materials. It is highly recommended that you use your own original material whenever possible. Be sure to get permission from the people featured in your photographs, audio, or video before posting pictures of them on the Web.
Step 1: Identify whom to ask permission from.
Find out the following information:
- Name of the person or corporation that can legally give you permission to use the material. For all copyrighted material, this will be the owner of the copyright. For other works that have not been copyrighted, this will be the artist or author.
- Contact information for the appropriate person or corporation. This could be an email address, a Web site, a postal address, a phone number, or a fax number. Where to find the contact name and information may depend on the type of resource you wish to use.
Permissions for Printed Materials: If for some reason you want to use a long passage of text on your Web site, contact the publisher for permission. If the publisher is not the owner of the copyright, they will be able to point you in the right direction. You can find the name and address of the publisher behind the title page of a book. Be aware that the copyright owner for images may be different. Write to the publisher, or find the publisher's Web site, where there may be an online form you can fill out. Try the Association of American Publishers AAP Imprints List page for a list of publisher Web sites.
Permissions for Online Materials: For copyrighted materials, you will need to contact the owner of the copyright. There may be a postal address provided. For original artwork and clip art, sound effects, and original sound files, look at the "terms and conditions" of the site. If permission is not already granted on the site, email Web master to find out who to contact, or write to the address provided.
Permissions for Music: The copyright owners of songs can usually be identified on the packaging inlay. To use music, you will need to obtain permission or pay a licensing fee. Copyright owners of songs can also be found through the links at the US Copyright Office Internet Resources.
Permissions for Video and Audio Segments from TV or Movies: Write to the TV station for permission to use video segments from television. Write to the copyright owner for all movies. Look on the box a video came in, or see where it says "copyright 2000 by ______" at the end of the movie.
Step 2: Ask for permission.
Use the contact information from Step 1 and formulate your request. Your request will usually need to be in writing, but in some cases a fax, online form, email, or phone call will be sufficient. Provide as much information as possible, describing the selection you wish to use and your project in detail. Ask if there will be any fees involved. Below are two permission templates and a sample release form. The Sample Release Form may be used to get permission from a person you have photographed or, audio taped, or videotaped. Permissions Template A may be used to ask for permission via email for non-copyrighted Web materials. Permissions Template B may be used to ask for permission for copyrighted material.
My signature below indicates that I am providing consent to...(1) to publish photographs and/or audio/video recordings taken during...(2), including me and/or my likeness on the Web and in public information materials. I further agree to allow...(1) to release, for educational purposes, photographs and video recordings, with or without audio, of...(2) including me and/or my likeness.
(1) Your Name and Program.
(2) A description of the activity you photographed, audio taped, or videotaped.
Subject: Permission to use...(1) on my Web site.
I am writing to request permission to use...(2).
I am a student at...(3). The material will be used for ...(4).
My deadline for this project is...(5). Please let me know your answer as soon as possible, or who else I will need to contact to obtain permission to use this item.
(1) Give a brief description of the item.
(2) List the material you wish to use. Describe the item as specifically as possible, and include the address and title of the page you saw it on, the name of the artist, and the file format.
(3) Give the name of your school, your grade level, and the name of the program you are involved in.
(4) Describe your project in detail and stress its educational and nonprofit nature. List the URL where you will be posting the material, for how long, who will have access, and what file format it will be in.
(5) List the date you will need permission by. This should not be the same as your project's due date. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the project with or without the material you are requesting.
Your School Address
Attention: Permissions Department
I am writing to request permission to duplicate...(1).
(1) List the material you wish to use. Describe the item as specifically as possible, and include the author, title, edition, ISBN (International Standard Book Number), copyright year, and page numbers.
(2) Give the name of your school, your grade level, and the name of the program you are involved in.
(3) Describe your project in detail and stress its educational and nonprofit nature. List the URL where you will be posting the material, for how long, who will have access, and what format it will be in (word, pdf, html, etc.).
(4) List the date you will need permission by. This should not be the same as your project's due date. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the project with or without the material you are requesting.
Step 3: Wait for an answer.
This can be a lengthy process, so make sure to leave yourself time. It can be a few weeks or longer before you will get a response.
Step 4: If the answer is yes,
credit the author next to the material and cite the permission on your Web site's Works Cited/Permissions page (see our page on Citing Permissions). Keep a copy of the permission for your records.