Library:Copyright Resources/MOOCs Copyright Guide/Seeking Permission

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Seeking Permission

If third-party copyrighted material is integral to the point of the learning unit or contribution, the use is not permitted by the Copyright Act, and replacing the material with an openly licensed or public domain substitute is not an option, then seeking permission will be necessary. MOOC authors may enlist the SCCO’s assistance in seeking permission.

Please note that obtaining permission can take some time, and is not always possible. You will need to be prepared with a backup plan if the copyright owner is unresponsive, cannot be located, or requests an unreasonable fee in return for permission. These obstacles are even more pronounced in the context of MOOCs, as many creators and publishers are unfamiliar with open online learning environments and unsure of how to handle related permission requests.

For these reasons, we recommend giving yourself a lot of time, and if enlisting the SCCO’s assistance, you should submit your permission requests at least 10 weeks in advance. In the event that permission cannot be obtained, the SCCO is available to assist with finding alternatives. A file record of who gave the permission, what was permitted, the date, and how to contact the person who gave the permission will need to be kept. The SCCO will also assist in managing permission records.

If you anticipate needing to seek permission for excerpts from published books or articles, then please note:

  • Where the instructor is also the author of the work being distributed, the publisher is more likely to grant permission.
  • Whenever possible, a recommendation to purchase the book from which an excerpt is taken, and a link through which students can make such a purchase, will also encourage the publisher to grant permission.