Permissions Basics

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Do I need to ask for permission to reuse published content?

If you are reusing content (such as quoting from a book, journal or reproducing an image) from a work that is still in copyright you most likely need to seek permission from the rights holder who may be the publisher, author, or author’s estate.

There are some exceptions where you do not need to seek permission to reuse content. A full list of exceptions to copyright can be found on the Intellectual Property Office's (IPO) website.

When do I not need to ask for permission to reuse published content?

There are certain types of reuse that do not require you to seek permission, such as use that falls under ‘fair dealing’. More information on exceptions to copyright and fair dealing can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/exceptions-to-copyright.

For reuse that does not fall under any copyright exceptions and for a work that is still in copyright permission will need to be sought.

How does PLSclear help people seek permission to reuse published content?

PLSclear is an award-winning tool that handles the entire process of requesting permission which can otherwise be confusing and time-consuming. It ensures you identify the current publisher and rights holder of a title, sends your permission request to the correct publisher contact, provides all the information publishers need to process your request efficiently, and enables you to manage all your permission requests within one system. At the end of the process you simply download your licence as a PDF, subject to any payment due to the publisher.

Can PLSclear provide guidance on copyright?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer legal advice on copyright.

Please refer to the IPO website for information on copyright. The IPO have a helpdesk you can contact for further clarification on copyright law in the UK. If you have additional questions, we recommend consulting with a copyright lawyer for specific copyright advice.

If you or the content you wish to reuse originates outside of the UK, we would advise contacting the local government department that deals with copyright law in that territory as it may differ from UK law.

Does PLSclear handle requests to reuse full books?

PLSclear is designed to handle requests to reuse small amounts of content from a book, journal, or magazine. We do not handle whole book licensing. To enquire about licensing a full work, contact the publisher’s rights team directly.

Do you have to pay to use PLSclear?

No. It is completely free to create an account and make permissions requests using PLSclear.

Depending on the content you are wanting to use and how you wish to reuse it, the publisher may ask you to pay a licence fee. This is a fee to use the copyrighted material and not to use PLSclear.

Can I make a request through PLSclear under the STM permissions guidelines?

Yes.

You can read more about the STM permissions guidelines on the STM website.

Do you have any additional guidance on how to use PLSclear?

Yes. Our Permissions team have created two simple guides to help you submit your requests through PLSclear:

We also host regular webinars for authors and editorial teams focusing on why you need permission from the rights holder and how to seek permission using PLSclear. You can sign up to a webinar here.

If you have further questions you can also contact our helpdesk at plsclear@pls.org.uk or +44 20 7079 5940 and one of our team will be on hand to guide you accordingly. The service is available Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (GMT). For email enquiries please allow up to two working days for a response.