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SME Library Resources: Requesting Permission

Requesting Permission

If the use does not qualify for Fair Use, the instructor will need to request permission to use the resource.

There are two primary options for obtaining permission to use copyright-protected material: (1) contact the copyright holder directly, or (2) contact the Copyright Clearance Center (

Permission to use copyright-protected material, when required, must be obtained prior to using the material. Always obtain permission in writing (which can be in an e-mail). College personnel must retain a copy of the request and/or permission for 6 years and email a copy to:  

The time to obtain permission may vary and, it is recommended that permission be requested at least six months before the material is to be used. If permission is needed sooner, the copyright owner should be informed of this fact so that he or she has the option of responding more quickly.

If you are uncertain who owns the copyright to the work you want to use, first try contacting the author or publisher to determine ownership.  Reference librarians can be helpful in finding the contact information.

The copyright holder or its agent will usually require the following information in order to provide permission:

  • Title of the material
  • Creator/author of the material
  • Publisher of the material
  • Description of material
  • ISBN or ISSN, if applicable
  • Date of publication, if applicable
  • Whether the user is a non-profit institution or an employee of a non-profit institution
  • Purpose for which you wish to reproduce the item (research, commercial, non-profit educational, for-profit educational, etc.)
  • How the material is to be reproduced (e.g., photocopied, digitized)
  • Where the reproduced material will be used or will appear and for how long

sample letter is available for your use.

If permission is denied, the material must not be reproduced. Not receiving an answer to a copyright request does not authorize use. Silence should not be deemed permission.

Royalty/Permission Fees

Prior to reproducing a copyright-protected work which requires royalty fees to be paid to the copyright holder, the employee must receive permission from his or her administrative supervisor to use funds from the employee’s department.

Licenses and Contractual Agreements

The College regularly purchases licenses and agreements that include permission to use copyright-protected material in an educational context – for example, a link on a faculty member’s course page to a full-text journal article may be permissible if the College has a license which allows such access. For more information on obtaining licenses, check with the designated copyright agent.