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Author's Rights

Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others.

Seeking Permission Template


TRU affliated individuals can only submit items to TRUSpace for which they own the copyright, or have permission from the copyright-holder to do so.

Do you own the copyright in your work?

Yes, if the item is entirely your own work, unless you have transferred your rights to another party, such as a journal publisher.

If your work includes third-party material, you will need to have written permission from that third-party to post the item in TRUSpace.

If you transferred your copyright to another party

Standard journal and book publishing contracts require authors to transfer their copyright to the publisher. That means that the authors are no longer free to do what they wish with that work.

Most journal publishers will permit authors to upload specific versions of the work to an institutional repository such as TRUSpace or to a personal web page. Most book publishers will not grant such permission. Policies vary by publisher.

Before you submit a previously-published item to TRUSpace, you will need to check whether you are permitted to do so. The best way to check is to read the agreement that you signed with your publisher. If you cannot find that agreement, you can use the following tools to search for the publisher's standard policy.

Some publishers will permit you to upload either a pre-print (prior to peer-review) or post-print (after peer-review) version of a journal article to an institutional repository or to your personal web page. Only a few permit you to upload the publisher's final typeset version.

Contact the publisher directly by email or by online form from the publisher website to determine its copyright policies and/or request permission; here is a link to a template for requesting permission from a publisher

Work with the Scholarly Communications Librarian who will help with these questions

How to Obtain Permission

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites. You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder if it falls outside the boundaries of fair dealing or other exceptions under the Copyright Act.

Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use.
  2. Exceptions to the need to obtain permission include:   
    - material that specifically states that it can be used freely
    - material in the 'public domain' (material where the creator has been dead for over 50 years or has donated the material to the public). This material still needs to be attributed to the  owner of the work (cited).
  3. Identify the copyright holder or agent.  You can usually obtain the permission by contacting the copyright holder or agent from the email address on the publisher’s website.
  4. Send written request for the permission to use. Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months. Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty.
  5. If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies for fair dealing, or use alternative material.

When you are making a request to copy remember to include all relevant information so that your request is not delayed. Clearly state that no changes will be made to the material and that acknowledgement to the author and rights holder will be given.

Always keep a copy of the permission request and the copyright holder’s response.  If you need help in obtaining copyright permission or have questions about the process, please contact TRU's Intellectual Property Office.

Your email to the copyright holder should include:

  • Date of your request:
  • TRU
    Course Name:
    Course Code:
    Term Start & End Date:
    Date Material will be Needed:

    Source Title:
    ISBN, ISSN or URL (if applicable):
    Year Published:
    Page Range to be Copied:
    Chapter # & Title (if applicable):
  • Number of Copies to be made: 
  • Type of Copying (Digital on a password protected site) / Print for class handouts):
    For Classroom Educational Use (Yes/No):

Keep a copy of everything. If you successfully obtain permission, keep a copy of all correspondence and forms. Also, keep a detailed record of your quest to identify and locate the copyright owner. Why keep these records? In the unlikely event that your use of the work is ever challenged, you will need to demonstrate your good efforts. That challenge could arise far in the future, so keep a permanent file of the records. Moreover, you might need to contact that same copyright owner again for a later use of the work, and your notes from the past will make the task easier.