Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project
IP: Copyright: Permission Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

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:

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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