If you have a question about copyright at any level or would like to make an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are in the process of formalizing copyright registration assistance procedures. Please check back for updated information.
NOTE: When you register a copyright with the Copyright Office, you are making a public record. All the information provided is available to the public and will be available on the internet.
The Minnesota State System Procedure 3.27.1 Copyright Clearance states that it is the responsibility of employees and students to gain copyright clearance for materials before use. For the most part, uses of copyrighted material in a face-to-face educational setting are useable without obtaining copyright clearance through fair use. Materials to be used in online courses must use the TEACH Act Checklist.
See instructions on obtaining permission from the U.S. Copyright Office in Circular 16A - Obtaining Permission.
Always allow plenty of time before the work is needed to allow for processing time.
Step 1: Determine if permission is needed
You need to seek permission if:
NOTE: Most published and unpublished works created after 1925 have some level of copyright attached to them. It is always best to make sure that works created before 1925 are actually in the public domain. Never assume. List of works published in 1925 entered the public domain in 2021. Note that they must be an authorized publication to have fallen into the public domain. See Library Law for more information.
See Circular 22 - How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work for some options for determining the copyright status of a work.
If you have determined that your use does not fall under copyright excemptions and that it is not in the public domain, move to step 2.
Step 2: Identify the copyright holder or agent
For many works, the author is not the copyright holder. Many times, the publisher holds all or some of the rights, such as the right to distribute. Some publishers have online copyright permission pages, some require official contact.
If the publisher is not the copyright holder, a representative can often direct you to the appropriate person.
It is possible that permission may be required from more than one source. For example, photos in an article may be owned by the photographer rather than the article's author.
Once you have identified the copyright holder or agent, move to step 3.
Step 3: Send a request for permission to use the work
You can send either a print letter or an email, depending on who you are contacting and their options. When sending a request letter, include:
If the copyright holder responds with an affirmative response, make sure to document and save all records of permission.
If the copyright holder cannot be located, does not respond, or if you are unwilling to pay a licensing fee, consider using alternative materials or limiting the amount of the work used to qualify for fair use.