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Asking permission from a copyright owner to use their work should be your last resort.

It's always best to first try to

  • use a work in the Public Domain or with a Creative Commons license,
  • use a work according to the Classroom Teaching Exemption,
  • use a work in a way that would be protected under Fair Use, or
  • find an alternative work that would satisfy one of the above - contact a librarian if you'd like help with this, or explore the Free to Use tab on the left.

If none of the above apply, then you can consider asking the copyright owner for permission to use their work directly, but this comes with challenges:

  • You are asking the copyright owner to waive the privileges and profits that would result from you and your students paying for copies through the normal channels. The copyright owner may likely deny your request for this reason.
  • The copyright owner may take weeks or months to respond, if they respond at all. It will probably be more timely for you to try one of the other options listed above.


You will need to contact the copyright holder and provide them with the information listed below in order to request permission to use their work.

Information about the work:

  • Full name of the authors, editors, and translators.
  • Title and other information about the work such as edition or volume number.
  • Exact portion or amount to be used; be specific such as page numbers.
  • Copyright date of the work.

Information about your use of the work:

  • How you intend to use the work (educational).
  • The audience with whom the work will be distributed or shared (such as the quantity of students in your class).
  • Whether or not the work will be sold.
  • For how long you will use the materials.
  • Name and nature of your organization.
  • Your name, position, and contact details.
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