Sample permit letter

Sample permit letter DEFAULT



To: Attn: Permissions Department
Publisher’s name and address

From:Name, department, contact info

Dear permissions editor:

I am writing to request permission to reprint material from the following publication:
Book: Include title, author, copyright date and owner (publisher)
Journal: Include title, editor, volume number, issue, and year
Artwork: Title, artist

Description of reprint material:
Figure numbers, chapter titles, page numbers, author, artist, etc.

Description of the intended use:
-What is your use and distribution? Is it for a syllabus, coursepack, multimedia project, reserve, handouts, etc?Is it appearing in electronic and/or print format?
-Is the purpose educational, non-profit, or commercial? Are you charging money for these materials? It usually helps to emphasize the fact that you are not making any money as a result of using the material.
-Length of time you will use the material?
-How many copies distributed? If on web: How many people will access site?
-Any additional protective measures employed (eg. passwords, further limiting access to only small portion of the password population, watermarked images, etc)?

If for some reason you do not own the copyright for these materials, I would appreciate any information you can provide concerning the proper person or company with whom I should inquire.

Please respond in writing to indicate whether permission is granted and inform me of any fees or conditions that may be required. In addition to the terms of agreement, please also indicate how you wish to be credited.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this request. I look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.


Title, School


Permission to Use Copyrighted Material

The amount of detail you need to provide in a request letter will depend on what you are seeking and from whom you are seeking it.

If you are asking a colleague for permission to share an article (to which s/he holds the copyright), a brief letter or email may suffice. If you are writing to the author, you may want to comment on the value of the work, and your reasons for sharing it. (Consider the sort of letter you would want to receive from a colleague who wanted permission to use one of your works.)

This model letter below assumes that you lack the sort of relationship that would permit a more personal letter and that the person to whom you are writing (quite possibly a publisher) will need detailed information in order to identify the work at issue.



[Author or Publisher and address] (Copyright notice will normally tell you who has the authority to provide permission).

Dear _____________:

I am writing to request permission to copy [identify work or excerpt to be copied] for use in my class, [name of class], during the _________ semester. [Or explain other purpose.] A copy of the article [or “excerpt and copyright page”] is enclosed. [Unless all of this is clear from the enclosure, you should identify: (1) the author’s, editor’s or translator’s full name(s), (2) the title, edition and volume where applicable; (3) the copyright date, (4) the ISBN/ISSN number, if known, and (4) the exact page numbers or images you wish to reproduce.]

I anticipate an enrollment of approximately ___ students in the course and wish to provide a copy for each of them. [Or, “and wish to place a copy of your work in an electronic reserve, password protected so that only these students may retrieve it.”] [If applicable: “The students will be charged only for the cost of reproduction.” OR “We would provide these copies to the students without charge.”]

[Please let me know if there is a fee for reproducing this work in this manner.] [I appreciate your assistance.]

Very truly yours,

Faculty Member

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CUL - Main Content

A “nonexclusive” permission may be granted by telephone or handshake, but an “exclusive” permission or a transfer of the copyright must be in writing and signed by the copyright owner. In all cases, a clearly written document with a signature is useful to confirm exactly what is permitted.

Some copyright owners furnish their own permission form that may be downloaded from a website. If the copyright owner does not provide a permission agreement form, you may use one of the forms listed at the end of this section under Resources, and follow these important pointers when drafting your own permission letter.

The Letter

A most effective letter will include detailed information concerning your request for permission to use the work. Be sure to include the following pertinent information:

Who: Introduce yourself. Tell who you are and perhaps include a brief summary of your credentials. For example: “I am a professor of history at Columbia University and am the author of several books on American history.”

What: Be as specific as possible when you cite and describe the work you wish to use. If you plan to use the entire work, say so. If you need only part, give the details. For example: “I would like permission to reproduce pages 113 through 142 of [full citation to book].” You may need to be more detailed or include copies of the material, especially if you are using photographic images or sound or film clips.

How: Tell how you plan to use the work. Specify whether your use is commercial or nonprofit, for classroom learning or distance education, for research and publication, etc. Remember, the permission you obtain is limited by its own terms. For example, if you secure permission to include a video clip in a multimedia project for your own classroom teaching, the permission may not include sharing the project with colleagues, posting it to your website, or selling copies at a conference. If you want those rights, be sure to include them in the permission request.

When: State how long you plan to use the work, whether one semester or indefinitely. Some owners may be wary of granting permission for extended periods of time or for dates far in the future, but if that is what you need, go ahead and ask.

Where and How: Include information about how and where the work will be used. Such uses may involve classroom copies, reserves, coursepacks, password protected online displays, etc. Include the exact or estimated number of copies that you wish to make or the number of uses intended.

Why: Tell why you are contacting that person or entity for permission. For example: “I am writing to you, because I believe your company acquired the company that originally published the book.” Another example: “I believe that you are the grandson of the original writer, and therefore may have inherited the copyright to the letters and diaries.” If you are using materials from a library or archives, do not assume that the institution holds the copyrights. You need to investigate and ask.


Sometimes you need to be patient and persistent, and sometimes the owner responds quickly. In any event, the reply can take any number of possibilities:

Permission Granted. Great news. Move to Step 3.

Permission Denied. Find out why. Maybe you can negotiate a better result. In any event, you may need to change your plans or look for alternative materials.

Permission Granted, but at a Cost. The copyright owner may charge a fee for the permission. You might obtain a lower fee if you change your plans, e.g., by copying fewer pages from the book or making fewer copies of the work. Sometimes copyright owners require their own permission form. Read it carefully. The form may impose limits or include legal constraints (“You agree to be bound by the law of Illinois”) that are not acceptable to you. The decision to accept will be up to you, your counsel or supervisors, and your budget.


Copyright Permissions Sample Letter

Permissions letter for copyright clearance

You may know it's important to seek permission before using copyright-protected content. But do you know how to obtain that permission? This article leads you through how to contact a copyright owner to obtain permission and what to ask for.

We also provide a sample copyright permissions letter below as a practical tool to guide you. You can tailor it to meet your needs when obtaining permission to use copyright-protected materials.

You may also like our eTutorial, Obtaining Permission: The Copyright Permissions Request.
Register here.

First, Determine if You Need Permission

Always assume that a work is protected by copyright, and then do your research to determine if that is indeed the case or whether you can use it without permission. If you're in doubt, the best course of action is to seek permission or find an alternative to using a particular work.

  • Do you need permission to use an illustration or map on your blog or in presentation slides?
  • Are you making multiple copies of an article for use in a seminar or to use as a hand-out at a conference?
  • Are you posting a video clip on your company's social media?

These are just some of the many situations in which you may be seeking copyright permission from a copyright owner.

Check your country's copyright law to determine whether your particular use requires permission or if there's an exception in the law for it (like fair use or fair dealing). There also may be information on the work itself about whether you can use it and how, or perhaps a Creative Commons license that permits specified uses without obtaining permission.

How To Contact a Copyright Owner for Permission

Your library or organization may have a copyright policy or guidelines that sets out a corporate permissions procedure. It may even include a standard permissions letter template. If that's the case, ensure you comply with your organization's procedures and requirements.

If your organization doesn't provide such guidelines, the steps outlined below will assist you in obtaining copyright permissions. You may even create a customized procedure and template that could be the basis of a corporate copyright policy or procedure for your organization.

1. Identify Who the Copyright Holder Is

Your first step is to identify the copyright holder of the copyright-protected work you wish to use. Sometimes it's immediately obvious, as the work may include a copyright notice with their contact information. There may even be a link to contact the copyright owner.

Other times identifying a copyright owner requires more research. If you locate an image you wish to use through Google Images, there may be copyright and contact information attached to it. Some images that you find through an online search or on platforms such as Pinterest have a link to the source website where you can locate contact details.

If you're seeking permission to use an article, you may need to contact:

  • The source magazine, book or website publisher
  • A copyright collective such as the Copyright Clearance Center in the U.S. or Access Copyright in Canada.
  • A representative of the copyright owner such as a literary agent, lawyer or heirs

2. Contact the Copyright Owner

How should you contact the copyright owner?

It depends on the information you have about them. There are a variety of ways to obtain permission to use third-party content. You could ...

  • Telephone them (then follow up with a written permission letter)
  • Email or mail a permissions request letter, including the details of your proposed use of the content

No matter how you obtain copyright permission, it's best to have a written document as evidence of the permission obtained. A copyright permissions sample letter is below.

What Your Copyright Permissions Letter Should Look Like

There are no standard forms or exact wording to use in your copyright permissions request letter. There are, however, a number of items your request should address. At a minimum, consider including the following items in your copyright permissions request letter:

  • A description of who you are
  • An accurate but brief identification of the copyright-protected material in question
  • How you'll use the content
  • Where you'll use the content (e.g., in a seminar, book, course materials or online)
  • For how long you'll use the content

Whether you offer payment for that use is your choice. Of course, the rights holder may request payment for the use of their work whether you offer it or not.

If you're sending the permissions request by regular mail, include two copies of the copyright permissions letter and enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for the convenience of the rights holder. If the request is by email, ask them to print the email, sign it and return it to you (scanning the signed copy is generally fine).

Copyright Permissions Sample Letter

Below is a simple copyright permissions sample letter. Use it as your starting point or template, and adjust the wording to best fit your situation.

Dear Copyright Holder:

We understand that you are the copyright holder for an article titled “The Mountains of North America,” originally published in Flowing Rivers Journal on pages 17–28 in the Spring 2020 issue.

ABC Corporation would like to include the above-mentioned article in a research report undertaken by our employees which will be distributed for free in print to the 1,500 members of the Western Ski Association in Utah. We will also post the report on our corporate intranet. Proper acknowledgement will be included with the reproduction of the article.

If you agree to provide us with permission, please sign both copies of this permission letter and return one copy to us by email (a scanned version is fine) or regular mail.

We appreciate your consideration of our permissions request.


David Patel

David Patel, Permissions Officer

By signing below, I warrant that I have the right to grant the permission requested in this letter, and that I provide you with that permission.



Other Copyright Permissions Sample Letters

The above letter is one sample of a copyright permissions letter. By undertaking an internet search, you'll discover many different kinds of sample permission request letters. Review these letters and use them as inspiration for writing your own standard copyright permissions letter.

Dealing with copyright issues on a regular basis? The Copyright Leadership Certificate program teaches you how to deal with day-to-day copyright issues, including analyzing situations where permission is required and how to obtain that permission.

Interested in news and articles on copyright law? Click here.


Permit letter sample

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How to write a sample Permission Request Letter / Permission Request Mail - Smart HR

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