Copyright Corner: Need copyright permission? Library Services can help!

by Roxanne MacMillan on 2022-11-21T08:30:00-04:00 in Copyright Corner, Copyright | Comments

In Copyright Corner, we talk frequently about the importance of asking for permission to reuse someone else’s content. We also understand that it can be confusing to know when and how to ask for permission.

Library Services has tools that can help!

Copyright Decision Tree

The first step is determining whether you need permission. Our Copyright Decision Tree walks you through questions such as:

  • Is the work protected by copyright? Is it in the public domain?
  • Is the work licensed for your intended use? Has the copyright owner applied a Creative Commons license? Does your department have an Access Copyright license or a stock image license, which permits use without asking for permission?
  • Do the terms of use specifically disallow your intended use?
  • Can you apply a Copyright Act exception, such as Fair Dealing?


Sometimes, the answers are clear, but if you’re not sure, reach out to Library Services. You can email us at copyright@nshealth.ca or book a consultation with a librarian. We'll help you determine if you can use a work freely.

If permission is required, we can help with that too.

Copyright Permissions form

This simple form can be used to:

  • Ask Library Services to request copyright permission on your behalf.

If you don't have time or aren't sure how to ask a copyright holder for permission to reuse their work, Library Services is ready to assist. We'll ask you to provide information about the resource and we'll do our best to locate and contact the copyright holder.

  • Submit proof of permissions that you have requested and received yourself.

You can also reach out to a copyright holder yourself. Sometimes a simple email outlining how you intend to use a resource (print or electronic, password protected, etc.) is sufficient, but keeping track of your permissions is essential.

If you are ever questioned by a copyright holder as to whether you have reused their work legally, we can quickly and efficiently consult the repository, eliminating the need to search through your personal emails and files. And, if you leave your position, your permissions records will stay with the organization.

You can find the Copyright Permissions Form on the Library Services website, as follows:

From the Services menu (1) on the top bar or left side of the page, select Copyright and Citation Management (2). Click on Request or Report Copyright Permissions (3) to open the form.

You can find more information about copyright permissions, including a printable version of the Copyright Decision tree, on our Copyright subject guide. Check our Learning Opportunities calendar for sessions on copyright. As always, reach out to copyright@nshealth.ca with your permissions and other copyright questions.

Roxanne MacMillan

Librarian Educator
Central Zone

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