How to Obtain Permission

Determining Copyright

United States federal Copyright law grants the creator of an original work a number of exclusive rights, but obtaining permission should not be the first step.  When solving a copyright problem, ask these questions:

  1. Is the work protected by copyright
  2. If yes, does an exception to copyright apply (e.g. is it in the public domain)? Consult Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States. If yes, then you can use the work. 
  3. If not, does fair use apply? If yes, then you can use the work.
  4. If not, and the work is protected by copyright, seek permission to use the work.

Obtaining Copyright Permission

The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) at is the first place to check for permission.  CCC facilitates copyright compliance by providing one-stop-shopping for those seeking permissions to use materials. 

Librarians can help you find out the cost of permission and how to get it. Contact  us at if you have questions!