Permissions FAQ

Author Responsibilities and Copyright Guidelines

This FAQ was developed by the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) Intellectual Property and Copyright Committee for use by university presses and their authors. It is provided as a guideline, to give you information that can help you fulfill your copyright and permissions obligations. You may copy, distribute, and display this FAQ as long as it is reproduced in its entirety, is not for commercial purposes, and includes attribution to the Association.

We consider this a living document. If you would like to suggest improvements or revisions, please send information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at the AUPresses Central Office, who will forward it to the current Intellectual Property and Copyright Committee Chair. This FAQ and other compiled copyright resources are available at the AUPresses website.

By its nature, this FAQ simplifies complex and evolving legal issues and therefore may not reflect a fully accurate summary of the law applicable to all instances. It is not a substitute for qualified legal advice. This FAQ should not be construed as representing the views of the individual members of Association. Individual presses may have different interpretations of copyright law, for example, about what fair use allows. Confirm your decisions with your editor.

AUPresses Intellectual Property and Copyright Committee, 2015
Last revised November 2016
Last Updated January 2018

 

Contents

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & EXCEPTIONS >

What is copyright?
What types of works are protected by copyright?
Which works are in the public domain?
When can I apply fair use?

CLEARING PERMISSIONS >

What does “clearing permissions” mean?
Who is responsible for clearing permissions?
What is the difference between getting permission from the rightsholder and getting permission from the owner of an object?
When I ask for permission, what exactly should I ask for?
What paperwork do I need to get?
How do I find the rightsholder?
How can I be sure I’m seeking permission from the actual rightsholder?
What if the copyright holder does not reply to my request?
What if I cannot find the copyright owner at all?
Do different kinds of material have special copyright clearance considerations?

  • Publications Written or Co-written by You
  • Works Made for Hire
  • Interviews
  • Unpublished Material
  • Paraphrased or Summarized Material
  • Poetry and Song Lyrics
  • Works of Art
  • Photographs
  • Film: Publicity Stills, Frame Enlargements
  • Cover Photographs and Advertising
  • Creative Commons Licenses

OTHER LEGAL ISSUES >

Do I need to be concerned about libel or privacy issues in my manuscript?
What can I do about orphan works?

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION? >

Online Resources

  • Basic Copyright Information
  • University-based Intellectual Property Resources
  • Locating Authors and/or Their Estates
  • Locating Photographers
  • Locating Out-of-Business Publishers
  • Public Domain Image Collections
  • Fair Use: Best Practices Statements

Books
Sample Request Forms

GLOSSARY >