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Copyright Guide for Academic Use: How Can I Get Permission?

This guide collects useful resources for understanding copyright in the academic context.

About This Guide

This guide is a collection of resources to help you assess whether and how you can use a copyrighted work.  It is not legal advice and not a substitute for legal advice.  

How can I get permission?

If you determine that the work is protected by copyright and your use does not fit in one of the exceptions, then you need permission to use the work.  To figure out how to get permission, check out the resources on this page.

Is there an existing license allowing your use?

Loyola License Agreements - It is possible that a work is part of a database already licensed by Loyola.  In that case, the license agreement governs use of the work.  

  • If you want to use the work for a class, if students have permitted access to the database, the simplest approach is to give the students the information so they can link to it. 
  • If your use is beyond providing a link to those with permitted access to the database, you will need to check whether your use is allowed by the license.

Creative Commons License - Some works allow limited types of uses through a Creative Commons License.  If that is the case, the work should clearly identify the terms of the Creative Commons License.  Anything beyond the terms would not be a permitted use.


Use of Copyrighted Works by University Faculty, Has Loyola University Chicago Obtained Rights to Use the Work?  Source: Loyola University Chicago.

Creative Commons License

Determining Ownership

If you need to contact the copyright owner for permission, you first need to determine who owns the copyright.  Sometimes determining copyright ownership is difficult.  Copyright owners may not include copyright notices on works, may transfer ownership, or may not register the work or transfers of the work with the Copyright Office.  Here are some ideas of where to check for determining copyright ownership:

  • Check the work for a copyright notice, which should include the copyright owner's name.
  • Check the Copyright Office, which has records of registered copyrighted works.
  • For works in print, check with Copyright Clearance Center, which is a collective licensing agency.  It has a searchable database of works and provides means for paying licensing fees to use the work.
  • For musical works, check with ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and PRS for Music, which are all collective licensing agencies.  The websites have searchable databases of works and information on paying licensing fees to use the works.
  • If the copyright owner has a web page, check to see if there is licensing information or a Creative Commons License.

How to Request

Copyright Clearance Service - Loyola University's Printing Services has a process for obtaining permission to use a copyrighted work. According to University guidelines, faculty and staff must follow Printing Services procedures.

  • Forms - Copyright Permission Forms are available at the University Copy Centers and Printing Services web page under “Copyright Clearance Service.” You may need to use the Firefox browser to open the form.
  • Timing - The time period for obtaining permission to use a copyrighted work varies depending on the copyright owner. You should allow at least 6 to 8 weeks to obtain copyright permission. Consequently, you need to contact the University’s Printing Services early in the process to ensure you will have the permissions you need before the beginning of the semester.
  • Fees - Most copyright owners will charge a fee for use of the copyrighted work. These charges vary depending on the amount copied and the copyright owner. Each University department determines how to pay these fees, so you will need to check with your department about payment procedures.


Use of Copyrighted Work by University Faculty - Guidelines from the Loyola University Chicago on copyright and getting permission to use copyrighted work.

Subject Guide