Skip to Main Content


This guide will inform you on copyright and issues pertaining to the use of copyrighted materials. It will not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of the office of General Counsel. If you cannot find the answer to your question

Requesting permissions to use copyright content

The first step to requesting permissions is to find the copyright owner.  Because authors sometimes transfer their copyrights to publishers during the publication process, the copyright owner is often the publisher and not the original creator.  It is a good idea to visit the publisher site to locate information on permissions requesting.  Some publishers have developed tools to help you locate the right person to ask for permissions.  For example:

Once you've located the copyright owner, and if they do not have a proscribed method of accepting permissions requests (like RightsLink), you should remember to include as much information about your proposed use as possible in your request or use a template form:

Figure Notes and Notes to the Reader

If, in your paper, you are including a figure, image, poem or other complete material for which the copyrights belong to someone else, you should include a figure note or a note to the reader in addition to obtaining permission for the use.  A figure note should include the citation of the original publication as well as copyright notice and permissions information.  
Figure notes usually appear directly under a figure or in a footnote on the same page.  For example (APA style):
Journal article:
Note. From “Title of the article,” by W. Jones and R. Smith, 2007, Journal Title, 21, p. 122.
Copyright 2007 by Copyright Holder. Reprinted with permission.
Note.  From Title of Book (p. 103), by A.N. Author and C.O. Author, 1994, Place of Publication:  
Publisher. Copyright 1994 by the Name of Copyright Holder.  Reprinted with permission.
If using material that was released with a creative commons license, the notes would include this information instead of the statement on copyright.  For example:
Journal article:
Note. From “Title of the article,” by W. Jones and R. Smith, 2007, Journal Title, 21, p. 122. CC-BY-NC 2007 by Copyright Holder. Used with Permission.

Using Your Published Materials in your ETD

Graduate students often publish articles in the course of obtaining their degree.  The publication process may require a transfer of copyright.  As an author wanting to reuse content in your ETD that you have published with a transfer of copyright, you will need to work within the author rights allowed by your publishing contract or request permissions from your publisher.