In an earlier blog post I explained what copyright actually is. This post looks at what we actually do when a permissions request comes in.
As a reader of one of our books, you may have spotted that our authors are noted as the copyright holder to their work on the copyright page of their book. It would therefore appear that it is them you should contact to clear permission to re-use some content. In fact, when an author signs a contract to have their book published with us, they license us to deal with all copyright matters on their behalf so we sort out any permissions requests for them.
In order to clear permission to re-use our content we ask for the standard form on our website to be submitted. That form is then emailed to our “info box” which is checked by Flo several times a day. She then redirects the email to me and I look into it. I try and respond as soon as I can to requests (usually on the same day); delays only tend to happen in cases where copyright needs to be checked or I am on holiday!
The first thing I do when I receive a permissions request is to check that our author is the copyright holder as it is not uncommon for me to receive a permissions request that is not actually mine to grant! This happens most frequently when our author has cleared permission to re-use content from another publication in their book. It is then the original copyright holder who can grant the permission and not us.
Once I have checked that we can grant the permission I then look at the requested use of the content: whether it is for inclusion in a thesis, journal paper, monograph, textbook, handbook etc. I also look at the expected print run and whether print or electronic rights are required. All these factors play a role in helping me to decide whether to charge for the re-use of material and, if so, how much. I then complete a certificate explaining that we grant permission and under which conditions it is granted.
Other requests which are forwarded to me include general questions about copyright, including content in institutional repositories and posting content on personal websites. I’m always happy to answer any queries about re-using our content so do feel free to email them to us firstname.lastname@example.org.