Skip to main content

Copyright Information: Seeking permissions

What is copyright permission?

In order to use copyright-protected works, permission must be granted by the copyright holder unless your use is considered Fair Dealing. This granting of permission is sometimes referred to as "licensing."


Back to Top

How do I obtain permission to use copyrighted material?

For use of copyright works in course packs, a learning management system (Blackboard), or the classroom (e.g. handouts), complete the request form and return to the Copyright Advisor.  The Copyright Advisor will then seek permission on your behalf.  

Please give the Copyright Advisor as much notice as possible for obtaining your requested permission, as it can often take weeks (or, in some circumstances, months) to get a reply.

You can also request permission to use copyright works yourself by contacting the copyright owner.  If you choose to contact the copyright owner yourself, you will need to include the following information:

(1) An exact description of the item:

  • For a book, include full publication information, including ISBN, edition, year of publication, page numbers, etc.
  • For a website, include the URL which links directly to the item.
  • For a photograph, include a copy of the photo, name of the photo, date photo was taken (if known), URL which links directly to the item, or any other relevant information, if known.

(2) A description of the proposed use, including duration and form of distribution:

  • For newspapers, be sure to include:
    • Newspaper (name and delivery mode: online, print, or both)
    • Publication date
    • Newspaper location (e.g., URL)
    • Newspaper audience (who will have access to the material, where will it be distributed, etc.)
  • For course pack or Blackboard material:
    • Protection/accessibility requirement for gaining access to course material (e.g., is the course password protected?  How will students gain access?  How many students will have access?)
    • Format (print copies, digital copies, or both)
    • Inclusion in PowerPoint or other visual displays
  • Example: "I wish to use this image in a PowerPoint presentation in a workshop I am giving at [insert name of place] for [insert name of organization] on September 10, 2011.  Also, the image will appear on handouts, which will be distributed to 30 participants.
  • If the proposed use is to post the item on a website, is the website password protected? How many students will have access to the site?

(3) A statement on profit:

  • Example: "The handouts will not be sold, and no profit will be derived from the use of this image."
  • Example (newspaper): "Advertising space is sold for the print version of the paper" and/or "The newspaper is available to patrons for free."

(4) Information on who you are, including contact information:

  • For students, state your name and full contact information (address, phone, email).  You may wish to include your program of study.
  • For faculty and staff, state your name, position, and full contact information (address, phone, email.)

(5) Inquire about costs or other requirements for obtaining copyright approval.

  • Requirements may include a one-time fee, a contract fee to be renewed on a yearly basis, or credit to the author.
  • ​Requirements may also involve conditions such as leaving the material intact, thus not manipulating it in any manner.

It is important to make sure you contact the actual copyright owner.  The author of a work may not always be the copyright owner, just as the website owner may not always own the copyright in the photographs on the website.  It is equally as important to specify how the copyright work will be used.  Even if you have permission for classroom use, you need explicit permission to post items online and in Blackboard. Be as detailed as possible in describing the intended use of the material. A sample letter for students is included below.  


Permission needs to be in written form (email is okay), and a record needs to be kept as long as the work is being used.


Back to Top


What do I do if I cannot obtain copyright permission?

If you are unable to secure permission to use a work, and your use does not fall under the category of Fair Dealing, you will not be able to use this work. Using copyright protected works without permission is a violation of the law and could result in the copyright holder making a copyright infringement claim.

For alternatives to using copyright-protected work see the Copyright-Friendly Resources section of this guide.


Back to Top


Copyright Permission Request Form

If you would like the Copyright Advisor to seek copyright permission(s) on your behalf, kindly fill out the Copyright Permission Request Form and submit it to the Copyright Advisor.  Typically it is the Copyright Advisor (as opposed to individuals) who make copyright permission requests on behalf of Mount Royal University.  

Students and Faculty are encouraged to make copyright permission requests for themselves, although the Copyright Advisor can also make such requests on their behalf or help as requested. If you use any of the sample letters, please note that you may need to alter the letters to suit your particular request.  You are encouraged to contact the Copyright Advisor at if you have any questions or require further assistance.

Note that it may take several weeks (or, in some circumstances, months!) to get some permissions.  Please give the Copyright Advisor 6-8 weeks for necessary copyright permission(s) where possible.


Back to Top


Content on this page has been copied and adapted from the "Copyright at UBC" website, created by the University of British Columbia under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Have a copyright question?

If, after browsing this guide, you still have questions or require additional information please contact, or 403.440.6618.

Student drop-in office hours on the main floor of the RLLC will resume in September, 2019.