IP: Copyright: Permission
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A copyright does not necessarily mean that you cannot use material; it means that you must first obtain permission (and perhaps provide compensation). If you want to use something, ask! Furthermore, some content is covered by compulsory licenses [Webcasting] that require copyright owners to grant permission for use under set compensation regimes.
When seeking permission, keep the following in mind:
- The copyright notice on the material should identify the copyright holder (some copyrights may also be registered - all published material must be registered). Some copyright notices will specifically declare that you have permission to copy the material under certain specified conditions. Some major producers of online content will even have an online form which can be filled out in order to obtain permission to use their content.
- Specify the right for which you are seeking permission. Gaining permission for one right does not necessarily get you permission for another right. For example, publishing articles in a newspaper does not necessarily give you the right to publish these same articles online.[NY Times]
- Specify the material for which you are seeking permission to use and how it will be used. You may wish to indicate whether the work will be sold or will produce any form of compensation.
- Specify who you are.
- Have the copyright owner specifically declare that they are the owner of the copyright in question and no one has a superior claim to that property. You may also wish to have the copyright owner indemnify you for any claim by a third party that the material in question is infringing.
- Obtain the full contact information for the copyright owner in case questions arise in the future.
Some material is in the public domain and permission is not needed. This would be material where the copyright has expired and material produced by the US Government.
Use of some material is covered by Fair Use and permission may not be needed.
Academics have special rights designated under the Teach Act.
New York Times, Inc. v. Tasini, No. 00-201, 533 U.S. __ (S.Ct. June 25, 2001). Free lance authors had written articles for inclusion in the New York Times. New York Times uploaded those articles to an electronic database, LEXIS/NEXIS. Authors sued arguing that the right to publish in the newspaper was not the same as the right to include the work in the electronic database. The Supreme Court agreed.
Some model permission letters:
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