When Permission Is NOT Needed:
- Work in the public domain. It can sometimes be hard to determine whether a work is in the public domain. But as a rule of thumb, any work published before 1923 is considered to be in the public domain. There are also some works published after 1923 that are also in the public domain. (More information below).
- When mentioning the title or author. If you are just mentioning the title of a work, you do not need permission. This is just like stating a fact.
- ‘Fair Use’ guidelines. If you only want to quote a few lines from a book, you are probably within fair use guidelines. You therefore won’t need permission.
- Creative Commons. If a work is licensed under Creative Commons, no permission is required. This is usually prominently stated on the work itself, as an alternative to the copyright symbol. Many books, sites and blogs are licensed under Creative Commons.
It is important to remember that crediting the source of a work does NOT take away your obligation to seek permission. In fact, it is expected you should acknowledge your source regardless of fair use.
Copyright on websites, blogs, etc
When bloggers use excerpts of copyrighted work (both from offline and online sources), it’s more likely to be considered as “sharing” or “publicity” rather than as a violation of copyright. So you are bending the rules, but owners of the copyrighted work are less likely to pursue legal action.
Song Titles, TV Titles and Movie Titles
You do not need permission to include any kind of title in your work. It is ok to use: song titles, TV show titles, and movie titles without permission. You don’t need permission to include the names of people, events, and places in your work.
Song Lyrics and Poems
Because songs and poetry can be so short, it is best not to even include one line without asking for permission. This applies even if you think this could be considered Fair Use. It is ok to use the titles of songs or poems, and the names of bands or artists.
Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)
222 Rosewood Drive
Danvers, Maryland 01923
Although mainly for academic material, the CCC provides licensing for copyrighted materials in print and electronic form.
Provides licensing of digital content
The Authors' Registry
National Writers Union
Places to locate authors:
U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress