13. How do I get permission to use other people’s work?


The best way to get permission to use someone else’s work is to ask them. Contact them via email or make a phone call and find out if they are happy for you to use their work and on what terms. For certain types of use the most effective way to get permission is to obtain a licence from collective licensing organisations.

If the copyright owner is unknown, getting permission becomes particularly difficult. This type of material is referred to as an orphan work. You can find more information about orphan works on the Copyright Cortex website.


Getting Permission

When you want to use a work that is in copyright, you need to get permission from all copyright owners. Some works have several rights attached to them and each right may have more than one owner…

Orphan Works

A work – such as a book, a piece of music, a painting or a film – in which copyright exists, but where the copyright owner is either unknown or cannot be located is referred to as an ‘orphan work’.

Copyright Bite #3

Copyright Bite #3 considers how you can lawfully make use of, or borrow from, works that are still in copyright, but without having to ask for permission or make payment to the copyright owner.