How to Get Permission to Print Copyrighted Literature

by Brenna Davis
You should assume literature is copyrighted, unless the title page says otherwise.

You should assume literature is copyrighted, unless the title page says otherwise.

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Copyrights grant exclusive rights to reproduce and sell intellectual property to the person who created the item or who purchased the rights to the item. Most literature is copyrighted, and literature does not need to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to have copyright protection. Because copyright violations can carry civil and criminal penalties, it's important to seek permission from the person who owns the rights to the item before copying it.

Step 1

Locate the person or entity that owns the rights to the item. Books typically have a copyright notice on the title page. The name or publisher next to the notice is the owner of the rights.

Step 2

Contact the person or entity that owns the copyright using the address printed near the copyright symbol. Explain the specific purpose for which you would like to use the item, and examples of the use. For example, if you plan to make copies to distribute to a political group, explain how many copies you will make and what specific sections of the literature you will be copying.

Step 3

Obtain written permission or a license to use the item. The notice of permission should be dated, contain an itemized list of the uses for which you have been granted permission and give contact information. Large publishers frequently offer licenses for pieces of literature, and these licenses almost always carry a fee. You must pay the fee and continue to renew the license for the entire time you use the copyrighted literature.