To determine if you need to obtain permission from the copyright owner for use of any specific material, answer the following questions:
- Are you taking (using) the author’s actual expression? That is, the text, music, photograph, illustration, painting, etc. that the author/creator has recorded in a tangible medium. Remember, ideas and facts are not protected by copyright and are in the public domain and can be used freely.
- Is the creator’s/author’s expression protected by copyright? Not all expression is protected by copyright. Remember, copyright protection has expired for many works now in the public domain. If the author’s/creator’s works are not protected by copyright, they can be used freely without permission. (See prior section Unprotected Materials for details)
- Does your intended use go beyond the bounds of “Fair Use”? Fair Use will be discussed in more detail in the next module. Once you have determined that the copyright owner's permission is required, you should contact the copyright owner for permission. It is best to get this permission in writing.