Skip to main content
Library Research Guides

Obtaining Copyright Permissions

This guide explains how to obtain copyright permission particularly when using music, movies, and images.

Copyright Questions?

The University of Michigan Library Copyright Office provides help with copyright questions for University of Michigan faculty, staff and students. Please email us with questions or visit our website for more information.

Legal Advice

The information presented here is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions pertaining to the University of Michigan, please contact the Office of the General Counsel.

If you require legal advice in your personal capacity, the lawyer referral services operated by the Washtenaw County Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan may be helpful to you.

Obtaining Copyright Permissions

Do you need to obtain copyright permission?

  • Is the work you want to use in copyright?
  • Does your use fall outside of fair use or another user's right?

Then yes, you need to obtain copyright permission! This guide will show you how to locate and contact copyright holders and obtain permission to use copyrighted materials.

This guide is under revision as of December 2016. It was initially prepared by Robert Spence, JD candidate, University of Michigan Law School as an extern with the UM Copyright Office in the fall of 2011. We wish to thank Professor Sherri Smith, Professor Michael Rodemer, and their students in the School of Art & Design for their valuable comments.

Services of the University of Michigan Library Copyright Office

The University of Michigan Library Copyright Office provides the university community information about copyright. In addition to this guide and our other web resources, we provide the following services:

  • We answer copyright questions via email.
  • We consult about copyright questions in person, over the phone, and via Google Hangouts. (Please email us to request an appointment.)
  • We hold online copyright office hours for the university community on Friday afternoons. (Please sign up via Google Calendar using a university email address.)
  • We offer public workshops on copyright.
  • We offer customized copyright education (presentations, workshops, etc.) for university groups, including faculty, staff, and students. (Please email us to request this.)

Although we provide information and education about copyright, we are not able to provide legal advice.

Note that some copyright-related issues are handled elsewhere at the university:

  • If you have specific legal questions pertaining to the University of Michigan, please contact the Office of the General Counsel.
  • If you believe your copyright has been infringed on a web site hosted by the university, please contact our DMCA agent.
  • If you have questions about using the university trademarks, including the Block M, please consult the Permissions Guide from University of Michigan Global Communications.

If you require legal advice in your personal capacity, the lawyer referral services operated by the Washtenaw County Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan may be helpful to you.