Sample Letter Requesting Use of Copyrighted Material from a 3rd party

[Letterhead stationery with return address, phone number, fax number, and email address]


[Name and address of addressee]

Dear _______________:

[Optional beginning sentence: This letter will confirm our recent communication.] I am completing a master’s thesis at Sonoma State University entitled "_________." I would like your permission to reprint in my thesis excerpts from the following:

  • [Insert full citation and description of the original work]

The excerpts to be reproduced are:

  • [attach copy or provide complete range of pages]

The requested permission extends to any future revisions and editions of my thesis, including non-exclusive world rights in all languages, and to the electronic publication of my thesis by Sonoma State University. These rights will in no way restrict re-publication of the material in any other form by you or by others authorized by you. Your signing of this letter will also confirm that you own [or your company owns] the copyright to the above-described material.

If these arrangements meet with your approval, please sign this letter where indicated below and return it to me in the enclosed return envelope. Thank you very much.

[Your name and signature]



__________________________________ [Type name of individual below line]

________________________________ Date


__________________________________  [Type name of company below line]

__________________________________  Date

Instructions for Requesting Use of Copyrighted Material

  • Be sure to include your return address, telephone number, email address, fax number, and the date at the top of the letter.
  • Spare no effort in confirming the exact name and address of the addressee. Call the person to confirm the copyright ownership.
  • Clearly state the name of your university and your position.
  • Precisely describe the proposed use of the copyrighted material. If necessary or appropriate, attach a copy of the article, quotations, diagrams, pictures, and other materials. If the proposed use is extensive, such as the general use of an archival or manuscript collection, describe it in broad and sweeping terms. Your objectives are to eliminate any ambiguities and to be sure the permission encompasses the full scope of your needs.

For more information about permissions: various organizations grant permissions for certain works. For example, the Copyright Clearance Center offers a "Republication Licensing Service" that may prove helpful: