Obtaining copyright permissions for publishing with EESC

If you want to use text, photos, illustrations, tables, charts, or graphs from another publication or Web site, note that most material is copyrighted and using it without permission is illegal. Therefore, EESC requires that you submit written documentation (email is acceptable) that you have obtained permission to reproduce anything from another source.

Whom do I ask for permission?

Obtain written permission from the copyright holder, usually the publisher, before providing us with the file. For illustrations or photos, you sometimes also need to ask the artist or photographer. The publisher will be able to tell you whether it’s necessary to do so. 

How do I ask permission? Sample permission request:

Dear ___, 

We are interested in reprinting several illustrations from the publication, ___. We wish to include these illustrations in ___, an educational publication published online by the Oregon State University Extension Service, a non-profit, educational organization. Prices for our publications are set on a non-profit, cost-recovery basis.

The illustrations we would like to reprint are ___. We will, of course, credit you as the original source of the illustrations. Please let us know at your earliest convenience if we may reprint these illustrations, and under what particulars we may do so. Thank you for your time and consideration. 



Verbal permission might not protect you in court, so always ask for written permission (via email is acceptable). If you’re writing a numbered-series Extension or Experiment Station publication, please provide us with a copy of your permission to use copyrighted material.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is it enough to credit the original author and publisher?
    No. If you don’t get permission to use their material, you’re still violating their copyright.

  • Do I need permission to use material from the Web?
    Yes. Consider material on the Web copyrighted just as if it were in print.

  • If a work does not contain a copyright notice, can I use material from it without permission?
    It depends on when it was published. If it was published before March 1, 1989, you can use it. All works published after that date are considered copyrighted even if they don’t contain a notice, so you can’t use them without permission.

  • Do I need permission to use material from a government publication?
    Federal-government materials are not copyrighted. State-government materials might be, so ask the publishing agency.

  • Do I need permission to use material from an out-of-print publication?
    Yes. Ask the publisher. If the publisher is no longer in business, make a good faith effort to locate the author.

  • Do I need permission to use material from or copy an OSU Extension publication?
  • Non-OSU users should contact Extension and Station Communications (EESC) to request permission.
  • If you’re a part of OSU, you don't need permission. The University is the copyright holder, so everyone at OSU can use the material. Be aware of two exceptions: 
    • If we used someone else’s copyrighted material in the publication, we may have permission only for that specific use. Check the publication to see whether we've credited any outside sources. If so, you'll probably need permission from the original source.
    • Pacific Northwest Extension publications (the PNW series) are copyrighted by the publishing state. Check the bottom of the first page where Oregon, Idaho, and Washington are listed. The state that is listed first is the publishing state. If it’s Idaho or Washington, you’ll need permission to use the material. Contact EESC to find out whom to contact.
  • If I get permission to use material in my printed publication, can I put the publication on the Web?
    Print and electronic permissions are often granted separately. To be safe, always ask for permission for both print and Web use.

  • If I alter the material from a copyrighted work, do I still need to get permission?
    Yes. The copyright owner has legal control over all copying and modification of the work.

  • Do I need permission to publish photos of people?
    If there are people in your photographs, videos, podcasts and other media, and they are recognizable, it is best practice to get their permission, in writing, to use their likeness. EESC provides a model release form for this purpose:

Additional Resources

If I have questions, who can I ask?

  • EESC and OSU Legal Affairs can help you decide what your legal obligation is, if you have a specific question.

  • OSU Printing and Mailing copyright information
    Covers all of the copyright basics as they relate to OSU faculty activities. It will help you sort out whether you need to ask permission to use material, how copyright law applies to multimedia works, and how to track down a copyright owner. Includes contact information for OSU copyright experts.
  • OSU Libraries copyright wiki
    Information on investigating copyright status, determining fair use, and a directory of copyright contacts at OSU.
  • The U.S. Copyright Office
    The ultimate source for copyright information, includes registration procedures, forms, and frequently asked questions.
  • Stanford University Libraries
    Copyright-related articles and a great source of information about copyright law as it relates to non-print materials, including websites, photographs, music, and software.