Requesting permission to use materials from 3rd party publishers.

There may be occasions where permission to use materials created by 3rdparty publishers should be sought out. This can be accomplished by several means, but one of the easiest is to have a coursepack or course reader made for your course.

If you are not familiar with a coursepack (sometimes known as a course reader), it is a custom compilation of works from various resources produced by a third-party vendor. As the instructor, you select the readings you want to include, the order in which they will be assembled, and then hand this to the vendor. This vendor in turns negotiates the rights and licenses to use the resources and will sell the coursepack to your students, the cost of the coursepack will then include the cost to license the works.

UCLA has a service which can provide coursepack services and have worked with UCLA Extension instructors and staff for several years. They can be reached via email or via phone 310-825-2831. Having a coursepack made is definitely the easiest option, but it is certainly not the least expensive. Since the request for the right to reproduce and redistribute is from a vendor, there will almost always be a cost associated with getting the permission.

As an instructor, you can also request the permission from the copyright holder yourself. However, it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks to get a response back from a publisher. And you should be aware that sometimes the publisher may request compensation in exchange for granting permission. This would be considered royalty payments, and it is up to you whether you want to pay it. But if you want to distribute the material, you will need to pay it, otherwise your distribution may potentially be infringement. Keep in mind that UCLA Extension does not cover or reimburse royalties for your permission requests.

Back to the process of requesting permission, if you are ready to proceed you need to gather the following information:

  1. The publisher,
  2. creator of the work,
  3. the date of publication (copyright date),
  4. amount of the work to be used,
  5. number of students in your course (an estimate is okay if your course hasn’t started),
  6. how you plan on distributing the content

This information will be incredibly helpful and you will use this information for the actual permission request.

Once you have this information, fill out the permission request form. Provide as much information and be as specific as possible. Remember that filling out a permission request does not guarantee that permission will be granted, or that it will be granted at no cost.  

With the form completed, search the internet for the permissions department for the publisher; for example, if you want to use an excerpt from a book published by Wiley and Sons search for "Wiley and Sons permissions department". Some publishers will have an email address where you can direct your permission request, if this is the case for the publisher in question you may attach your permission request.

Sometimes the permission request will be a form-based request, if this is the case, just provide the information requested by the form. In other cases, the publishers will not handle permission requests themselves. They may outsource the permission clearance to a 3rd party vendor like the Copyright Clearance Center. In this sort of relationship, the Copyright Clearance Center acts as an agent on behalf of the publisher. If you are directed to the Copyright Clearance Center, you may have to create an account on their website and complete a request form. If you have a permission request that is routed through the Copyright Clearance Center, there may be a charge.


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