You will usually need to clear copyright to include material in your book that is not your own. Copyright must be cleared before you submit your manuscript. It can take months for rights holders to respond to permission requests so please start the process as early as possible.
The first step is to decide if you need to clear copyright. If you do, you will need to identify who holds the reproduction rights to the work. For text extracts, if the book is still in print then this is likely to be held by the publisher. If the book is out of print, the rights will probably be held by the author or their estate. Image rights could be held by a gallery or the artist. If you have found quoted text or an image in another book, it should say who the copyright holder is.
Different rights holders have different processes for requesting permission to use work in copyright. If they have a website, this information should be available there; otherwise, contact them directly for instructions.
You will need to request the following rights:
You will need to provide some information about your book. Contact your assistant commissioning editor and they will be able to tell you what you need.
Do you need to clear copyright?
It is generally agreed that no fee will be set for copyrighted text reproduced for the purposes of criticism, review, non-commercial research or the reporting of current events.
This is called Fair Dealing, or Fair Use in the USA.
Fair Dealing guidelines are not legally binding but are based on a ‘fair trade’ agreement.
An appropriate acknowledgement must accompany materials reproduced under Fair Dealing. You do not need to request formal permission from the copyright holder.
As a general rule: if in doubt, contact the copyright holder.
Fair Dealing checklist
Yes to both of the above ► this may fall under Fair Dealing
Yes to any of the above ► you need to clear copyright
There is no legal precedent for the use of film stills in academic publications. The Society for Cinema Studies advises that frame enlargements (or screen grabs) published in a scholarly book will most likely fall into the category of Fair Dealing. These recommendations are not legally binding but seem sensible.
Always clear permission for:
Clearing copyright – your checklist
1. Check your author/editor contract regarding permission fees and who pays them.
2. Make a list of everything you need to clear copyright for and keep a track of all of the important information on a permissions tracker spreadsheet.
3. Check the copyright holder's website to see what their process is for requesting permission and follow their instructions.
4. Ask for ‘non-exclusive world English language print and electronic rights for one edition only, including all reprints’.
5. Make every effort to seek formal permissions clearance from the copyright holder.
5. Send us your acknowledgements page, your permissions tracker and all copies of your correspondence when you send us your final manuscript.
Contact your assistant commissioning editor if you have any questions about clearing copyright permissions.