All works published by Atla Open Press are published under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial license (CC-BY-NC 4.0 International) Under this license, others are free to use, share, and adapt these works so long as such usage, sharing and adaptation are for non-commercial purposes and so long as attribution to the original is provided and any changes made are noted.
Users of works protected by copyright in your article, book chapter, or book may not need permission if the work is licensed for such use (e.g., openly licensed under Creative Commons) or the usage can be justified under Fair Use.
Fair use provides an indispensable opportunity for scholarship, since so much of research involves building upon the insights of others. Fair Use is an exception under U.S. Copyright Law to a copyright holder's exclusive rights. In order to use copyrighted works under a claim of fair use, the following factors must be weighed:
Quotations from other writers are a regular part of most scholarship and are generally considered a classic example of fair use. There is no exact rule about how much one may quote and remain within the boundaries of fair use. Various guidelines that offer specific numbers of words or lines are advisory and do not have the force of law.
In general, quotations from the works of others should be no longer than is necessary to support the scholarly point you wish to make. When you are subjecting the quoted material to scholarly criticism or comment, you have more leeway under fair use than in many other situations, but you should be sure that you do not use more of someone else's work than is necessary for the argument that you are making in your own writing.
You should be sure that the pictures you reproduce are closely tied to your research goals and are each made the subject of specific scholarly comment. If you use a large number of copyright-protected images by a single artist, or in some other way threaten to supersede the market for the original works, it is wise to seek permission.
If you have flexibility in the final selection of your images, search for images that are 1) in the public domain, or 2) made available for reuse via a Creative Commons license. Such images can be incorporated into your dissertation without permission or concern for fair use. You can find resources for locating public domain and Creative Commons licensed images in our Copyright LibGuide.
Remember to always provide proper attribution to the sources of the works you incorporate into your work. Proper attribution is absolutely required; that’s a part of academic integrity and good scholarship. Copyright permission, if necessary, is an entirely separate matter and does not obviate the need for attribution.
If your usage of copyrighted works in your article, book chapter or book does not qualify as fair use, you will need to either make adjustments to the work you seek to use (e.g., use less of it, transform it) such that a fair use argument can be made, or you will need to seek permission of the copyright holder.
To seek permission, the following steps must be completed:
Identify the Copyright Holder
Because the law no longer requires copyright holders to register their copyrights with the federal government, identification of the correct rightsholder can be difficult. Further, the records of the U.S. Copyright Office are not wholly online, which also makes identification challenging.
For works registered after 1978, the U.S. Copyright Office does maintain an online searchable database.
For works registered prior to 1978, several entities have made scans of the paper registries available online.
There is also a database maintained for copyright contacts for famous writers, artists and other prominent creative figures.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are seeking to use a commercially published work, it is the publisher who is typically the copyright holder as modern publishing contracts traditionally require a transfer of copyright from the author to the publisher for some period of time.
Once you have identified who holds copyright, you will need to request permission. Most commercial publishers of journals and books will have information on requesting permissions on their web site, with many providing a form on their site wherein you can submit your permission request. Many use a third party rights clearinghouse services such as Copyright Clearance Center. You will need to provide complete information on the work you seek to include as well as details about how you want to use the work and where it will ultimately be published.
NOTE - if you are seeking to reuse your own previously published work, you may need to get permission in the absence of fair use. Refer to your author agreement with your publisher about future reuses of your work.
If the rightsholder does not provide an automated means of requesting permission, you will need to contact them directly by electronic or postal mail. In your message or letter, you will need to provide the following information:
Again, carefully evaluate whether your usage qualifies as fair use prior to seeking permission! Also, remember to keep copies of all correspondence and responses and any written permissions received.
Atla Open Press authors with questions about identifying a rightsholder or seeking permission to use copyrighted works in their Atla Open Press publications may contact Atla Scholarly Communication and Digital Initiatives Manager Christine Fruin.