Skip to Main Content

Guide to Copyright

Notes & Attributions

Content on this site adapted with permission from the Purdue University Office of Copyright.  

It is the responsibility of all members of the Purdue University Global community to make a good faith determination that their use of copyrighted materials complies with the United States Copyright Law and Purdue University Global's policies.  The purpose of this site is to educate the Purdue University Global community on copyright.  The information provided on this site should not be considered legal counsel or legal advice. 


Permissions to use copyrighted material must be obtained when the use is not covered by U.S. copyright law and its exceptions (or by alternatives to fair use and copyright exemptions, like linking to an article in a database licensed by the PG Library or using a work covered by the Copyright Clearance Center's Academic Copyright License). 

Permissions should be in writing and from the copyright holder and maintain copies of all of the correspondence.  Curriculum developers should contact their manager about where to document and store acquired permissions.  

When to Ask for Permissions

Before contacting the rightsholder to a work for permission, consider if your use is already covered by fair use, other exemptions to copyright, or licenses.  Generally, you do not need to seek permission if:

  • You are linking to (not copying and republishing) a work on a website (published or allowed by the rightsholder).  Example: A news article on  Linking to websites and other online content does not generally require seeking permission.  
  • You are linking to an item in a database licensed by the Purdue Global Library, using the persistent link tool within the database (with rare exception). 
  • Your use is covered by the fair use exemption to U.S. copyright law.
  • The work is covered by Purdue Global's Academic Copyright License from the Copyright Clearance Center.
  • You are linking to or posting a copy of a work licensed by a Creative Commons license that allows the type of reuse you are conducting.
  • You are sharing a work that is in the public domain

Permissions Basics

All requests for permissions must be sent to the copyright holder of record or their agent. Requests should include the following information:

  • Your name, address, telephone number, and fax number.
  • Your title/position and name of university.
  • The date of your request.
  • A complete and accurate citation.
  • A precise description of the proposed use of the copyrighted material as well as when and for how long the material will be used.
  • A signature line for the copyright holder including their title if they are representing a company and the date.

Where do I look on a website to find contact information and usage policies?

This varies from website to website, but if who to contact is unclear, look for an "About," "Permissions," "Terms & Conditions," "Copyright," or "Contact Us" section of a website to find the copyright permissions contact.  

Permissions Templates