Permission from copyright holders is often needed when writing theses, dissertations or other papers, creating course materials, or developing Web sites. Items in the public domain or that have been explicitly licensed for reuse do not require permission for reuse. Otherwise, you need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder and is outside the boundaries of fair use.
For print publication:
Both the University of Texas and the University of Michigan provide extensive lists of information - broken down by category - on locating copyright holders and services and agencies that grant permissions. The WATCH Copyright File is another excellent resource.
Permission to use copyrighted materials should be obtained in writing. This can sometimes take months, so you should give yourself time to go through the process.
The University Libraries have provided a sample permission letter for students writing a thesis or dissertation. This letter is offered as a starting place for drafting a letter suitable to your needs. The University Libraries offer this material as a service and make no representation or warranty about the suitability of this draft for individual purposes. Users should consult an attorney for advice concerning their specific situation.
This web site presents information about copyright law. The University Libraries make every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but do not offer it as counsel or legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.