Requesting permission

To seek permission for use of copyright material you should send a written request to the copyright owner - usually the publisher. Your request should contain clear details of:

  • the copyright material you wish to use
  • all current and future uses you would like to make of the material
  • your intended use, including whether or not it will be for non-commercial, educational use
  • the number of copies and/or the format you intend to make the material available in
  • the intended audience for the material.

You should ask the person you are writing to to confirm that they are the copyright owner or exclusive licensee of the material in question. In some cases copyright owners might request payment for any permission they provide.

Publishers often have an online form or link to use to seek permission. If you are unsure contact the Copyright Office for advice.

For more information see Australian Copyright Council factsheet - Permission: Do I need it? and Permission: How to get it?

Determine who owns the copyright in the material you wish to include

Look for a permissions statement on the material, or the website or publishers sites. These quite often have a link to a copyright statement in the footer of the web page, in the terms of reference, or on the material. If there is no apparent ownership statement on the material such as "© Joe Bloggs 2021" or  Creative Commons symbol, Contact the Copyright Office for advice.

Write to the copyright owner to ask for permission

Include details of the material you want to use and how you intend to use it (Link to sample text.) If the copyright owner does not reply, follow with another email, or make a follow up phone call. Some publishers may ask for a payment for the use of their material. If you don't want to pay for the use of the material you can:

  • delete it from the release copy of your material
  • rewrite to express the ideas in your own words and structure
  • contact the Copyright Office to discuss your options further.

I have permission to use their material in my research. Is there anything else I should do?

  • Acknowledge the permission from the copyright owner in your research.
  • Keep a record of all copyright material included in your research.

Consider your intended publication outcome

At the point of incorporating other people's material in your research, consider whether that material will be an essential component of your final publication. If the answer is 'yes' you will need to obtain permission to use it. It can be difficult to determine whether or not you have permission to use someone else's work.

Log what you use

Create a log to record the details of any copyright material you use in your research. This will help you identify and assess copyright material you have included in your research. See the Researchers toolkit Permissions template (pdf, 157kb).