This page provides resources for contacting a rights-holder to use a copyrighted work.
Seeking permission from the rights-holder may reduce risk if it is unclear if the proposed reproduction or public distribution is permitted under copyright law. Permission may be unnecessary if the work is in the public domain, not subject to copyright-protection, or when there is an exception under copyright law that clearly supports your intended use, for example, the use is a Fair Use.
It is sometimes best to obtain permission, particularly for images, sound recordings, videos, or other media, and even scholarly articles before posting the information publicly. If you are going to ask for permission, then you need to be prepared to regroup if permission is denied (or if you do not want to pay the fee requested for the permission). By proceeding after permission is denied, or you are quoted a permissions fee you are unprepared to pay, it may be more likely to turn into a dispute.
Step 2 - contact the copyright owner, identify yourself and the proposed use you would like to make, and request permission for your intended use.
The more details you provide in your request, the more likely it is that you will receive a timely response. For example, it is clearer to say " My name is X. I teach at Y Institution. I am writing to request permission to reproduce the material in your book [insert full book citation], on pages 13-24 on my course Canvas page for the Fall 2020 semester. The material will be removed after the course is completed, and students will not be able to access it afterwards. Students will be expected to use the material as the basis for an in-class presentation that will be recorded but not distributed outside of the students and instructors of the course. Do I have your permission to proceed with this intended use? " as opposed to "I would like to use your book in my class".
Budget yourself plenty of time to correspond with the rights-holder and secure the rights that you need. Unless you are contacting a major-rights holder, it is unlikely that you will receive an instantaneous response.
Step 3 - document the response of the rights holder, preserve correspondence (this includes any email / letter exchanges, permissions forms or research you have conducted to identify the rights holder.
Calendar the day you initially reached out, and set yourself reminders to follow up if you do not receive a response.
Sometimes the answer from the rights-holder will be "no". In such cases you should carefully consider your alternatives, and how you might limit your request or adjust your proposed use to avoid a copyright conflict.
"(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."