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Getting Permissions

If your use is not permitted by a licence, by one of the user rights/exceptions in the Copyright Act, or by the university's Fair Dealing Policy, you will need to ask for permission. The permission must come from the copyright owner, who must be identified and located. There are a number of copyright collectives who can give you permission (in the form of a licence) on behalf of the copyright owner to use his/her work. For example, if you want to use music and your use doesn’t fall within any of the Copyright Act’s exceptions, you can go to copyright collectives such as SOCAN, or Re:Sound that administer copyright in music.

But if the copyright owner is easy to identify and locate, you may want to contact him/her directly, as many copyright owners will give permission to academic users without requiring payment. Usually, you will be able to identify the owner somewhere on the work by looking for the copyright symbol ©, which should have the copyright owner’s name next to it. You will often find this at the beginning of a book, at the side of a photograph, or at the bottom of a web page. Once you have located the owner, simply e-mail or write to him/her, explaining how and why you want to use the work and requesting permission. The permission should be in writing: an e-mail will suffice. Verbal permissions should not be used. It is also a good idea to keep a file record of who gave the permission, what was permitted, the date, and how to contact the person who gave the permission.