Copyright permissions

Copyright permissions

How do I get permission to use a copyright-protected work?

You can ask the copyright owner for permission. We have sample permission letters/emails available for reference - see the links above.

  1. Identify the copyright owner

    You can identify the copyright owner of a work by looking for the copyright symbol ©. The copyright owner's name will be next to it.

    In addition, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and the US Copyright Office maintain databases that include records for copyrighted works registered with their offices.  They can be useful for finding contact information for copyright owners or their agents.  Note: Not all copyrighted works or owners will be found in these databases.

    For Canadian works, search the CIPO Copyright Database

    For US works, search the US Copyright Office Records

  2. Ask for permission

    Once you have located the copyright owner, send them an email, call or write to them, explaining how and why you want to use their work. If you are recording a lecture or taking photos at an event, you can ask for permission from the subject beforehand. Keep records of your permission requests on hand for future reference.

  3. Acknowledge the permission

    It is a good idea to acknowledge that permission has been granted, and cite the copyright holder accordingly, using a permission statement.

Should you have any questions please contact the Copyright Office.

The Copyright Office makes every effort to provide accurate information but does not offer it as counsel or legal advice.