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Copyright & Fair Use

Getting Permissions

Getting Permissions

You will need to gain permission to reuse copyrighted materials.  The only exception is if the requirements for "Fair Use" are met.  If proper permissions are not gained for the use of copyrighted materials, legal actions may result. 

The following steps can help guide you in acquiring permissions:

1. Identify the copyright holder.

  • You can often locate the copyright statement on the back of the title page of a book or in the journal issue.

2. Contact copyright holder to request permission in writing.

  • For many print publications you can contact the publisher directly for permissions.

  • If the publisher does not own the rights, you may be referred to the authors.

  • Journal publications often have links for permissions contacts on their websites.

  • The Copyright Clearance Center offers permission services for a fee, and is often much faster than contacting copyright holders yourself.

3. If permission is denied, be ready to revise your plans.

What to include in your written permissions request?

The U.S. Copyright Office recommends that all of the following information be included in your request:

  • Author’s, editor’s, translator’s full name(s)
  • Title and other details about the work, such as edition or volume number, if applicable
  • Exact material to be used, giving the amount or portion(s) of the work to be used, with as much specificity as possible
  • Copyright date of the work
  • Use to be made of the material
  • Audience to whom the work will be distributed or otherwise made available
  • Whether or not the material is to be sold
  • Name and nature of your organization (for example, non- or for-profit)
  • Your name and contact details

More Resources

The expansive guide, created by NYU, all about gaining permissions is extremely helpful and chock full of information.

Or go straight to the source with the U.S. Copyright Office circular providing instruction on how to determine the copyright status of a work.


The intent of this guide is to provide employees of Cincinnati Children's with information pertaining to copyright law and fair use.  In no way does this guide constitute, or take the place of, legal counsel.  This guide was compiled for educational purposes only.  Any content presented on other's sites are for user's convenience only and Pratt Library and/or Cincinnati Children's does not take responsibility for anything presented on these third party sites.