Copyright Permission Request Letter

In some instances, you might require to use copyright-protected work. If your use is not an exception in the Copyright Act or covered by an existing license, you could seek permission directly through a formal request. This is a letter or email written to the copyright owner, who could be the creator or another entity such as a publisher, asking for permission to use their work.

Many copyright owners provide a form on their website where you can fill out your application. If not, you might have to write your letter from scratch. Here are some pointers on how to draft an effective copyright permission request letter.

What to Include in a Copyright Permission Request Letter

When drafting a copyright permission request letter, you should provide the reader with as much information as possible regarding how you wish to use their work. Try to include the following details:

  • The title, edition, author, creator, editor, or publisher of the material
  • Page or chapter numbers to be used
  • The title of the image, table, figure, excerpt, or article you want to use
  • The purpose of use e.g., to teach a class, republish, or complete a thesis.
  • The duration of use. You can also mention if you require ongoing permission.
  • Your deadline by when you need the material
  • The nature of use. Will the material be posted on an open password or one with password protection.

Tips for Writing a Copyright Permission Request Letter

Requesting permission to use copyrighted material should be treated as a delicate matter. You should respect the copyright owner’s right to accept or deny your request. That said, you can draft your letter in a manner that allows you to obtain permission easily. Here are some pointers to help you achieve this:

  • Address your letter appropriately – Research to find out who owns the copyright to the material you wish to use. Depending on the type of material, this could be an author, artist, organization, or publisher. Check the approved format for seeking copyright permission requests provided by the copyright owner. Some authors and publishers provide fillable forms on their website.
  • Explain your reason for requesting permission and the capacity in which you are writing
  • Identify the material in detail. Include data such as the title, author, publisher, and year of publication.
  • Explain how you intend to use the material
  • If the copyright owner requires compensation, mention how you plan to honor this.
  • Close the letter with your contact information

Copyright Permission Request Letter Format


{Recipient’s Name}

{Recipient’s Address}

{City, State, Zip Code}

Re: Request for Permission to Use {Name of Material}

Dear {Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name} or {Publisher/Copyright Holder},

I am writing to request permission to use the following material in {state intended use e.g., university lecture}: {Provide complete work citation, including chapter and page numbers}. Access to this material will be restricted {state specific persons or parties}.

Additionally, the material will only be located by {nature of use e.g., posted on an open website} and will be listed by {author/title}.

As this project is time-sensitive, I would appreciate an early reply to this request. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


{Your Name}

{Job Title/Organization Name}

Sample Copyright Permission Request Letter

11 August 2030

Therese Fowler

342 Old Town Road

Wilmington, NC 34521

Re: Permission to Use Text from Souvenir

Dear Ms. Fowler,

I am writing this letter to request copyright permission to use the following citation: Souvenir, Chapters 2 to 14, Published by Penguin Books on 2010 Ed3, Authored by Therese Fowler. I would like to incorporate this particular potion into my lecture on ALS Syndrome.

As I am currently working on this topic, I am convinced your text offers the insights my students need to understand the effects of ALS on the human body.

I plan to use the text from your book for the semester spanning 7 October 2030 to 7 February 2030. Please furnish me with your response at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


Chelsea Powers

Senior Lecturer Medicine and Medical Studies

University of North Carolina

Copyright Permission Request Letter (Word Template)

File Format
  • MS Word


Before drafting your copyright permission request letter, you should gain a clear understanding of how the copyright owner works. Most organizations will require you to fully disclose how you intend to use their work. Others might expect compensation for using their material. Make sure you find out and meet all the requirements detailed on the copyright owner’s website. It is important to note that gaining permission to use copyright-protected work can take 6 to 8weeks, on average. Therefore, try to draft your request way before you need to use the material.

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