Outside of instructional use in education, there are many other instances where one may need to obtain copyright permission to recopy resources for republication or initial use for other books, journal articles, or online publishing, e.g. blogs and wikis.

Below are general instructions for scholars, researchers, and commercial authors on how to obtain permission from the publishers of others’ resources. These are basic guidelines and should not be considered legal advice, only general tips on how to follow-up with publishers and/or authors for permission to use their works in your newly created works.

NOTE: If you are reprinting content from your own original works previously published, you might also need to ask for permission to re-use your works if you signed a publishing contract agreement when submitting your content for some works, such as journal articles or book chapters. Depending on what the contracts state and what you may have arranged, you may not need permission for your re-use of your own work(s) for new publishing. However, this is often not the case, but it is good to review the contracts signed when these works were published. Once you determine what the previous publisher contact agreements state, and if you signed over all of your copyright exclusive rights, then, yes, permission is needed from those works. 

Columbia University Libraries' Copyright Advisory Office provides Model Permission Letters to use for when permission is required. The format of these letters are ideal for you to use for an email or letter sent to the publisher for permission. Do NOT rely on any verbal telephone or text messages from a publisher. Emails, facsimiles, or traditional letters are best to document any permission.  Also, be prepared to pay for some permission, especially for posting excerpt or complete document content on a public viewed web resource, such as blogs and wikis. 

You will need to research for the permission contacts from each publisher (or author) of any work you plan to copy and use within your new work. Many publishers provide a copyright permissions page for such requests. For others you may need to perform a web search (e.g. Google or Bing) for “permission,” “copyright,” and the name of the publisher. Often these publishers provide online permission templates too. If this is the case, print out a screen shot before clicking any submit button with your permission request.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Information on this page and other content from the IPAC website, programs, or services is provided for informational purposes only. Any information provided should not be considered legal advice. The IPAC seeks only to facilitate related information and community connections to further IP awareness. Any information received from IPAC should not substitute for securing legal advice from a licensed attorney.