Gain permission early in your research

Consider copyright early

It is important to consider copyright early on in your research. Short quotes from academic works are unlikely to breach copyright. But you must get permission to reproduce all or a substantial amount of a work (not just text but also photographs, graphs, diagrams, drawings, poems). This not only relates to the quantity used, but also how significant the material copied is to the original work.


If you have collaborated with another person to create a copyright work that is jointly owned, you will need their permission to reproduce this work.

Permission is specific

You will need to obtain permission for every specific use of a copyright work. For example if you have permission to use a piece of work in a journal article and wish to use it again in your dissertation, you will need to ask for permission again for this new use.

What to do if you can't get permission

If you have been unable to obtain permission to reproduce material, you may consider placing that material in a separate section of your thesis which can then be suppressed from public view or the whole text of the thesis can be suppressed. Email for more information on these options.

Sample request seeking permission to reuse content

Dear [insert name of owner or authorising person]

I am a research student in the Department of [name] at the University of Auckland.

I am writing up my research in a [thesis/dissertation/book/chapter/article/paper] entitled [title].
I am seeking permission to use the following copyright material in my [thesis/dissertation] for the purposes of examination and subsequent deposit in the University of Auckland publicly available digital repository, ResearchSpace:
I am seeking permission to use the following copyright material in my [book/chapter/article/paper] for publication in [the journal or publisher of book]:

[Insert description and source of material for which permission is sought]

If you are happy to grant permission, please sign the authority at the bottom of this letter and return a copy to me. You can also add specific instructions regarding the attribution statement that I will include and any additional terms and conditions that you require.

If you wish to discuss the matter further, please contact me at [insert email address] or telephone [insert number].

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Yours sincerely

I, as Copyright Owner (or the person with authority to sign on behalf of the Copyright Owner) of the material described above, grant permission for [name of student] to copy the material as requested for the stated purposes, with no further action required.

Signed: ………………………………………..  Date: ………..…………..

Attribution statement
Please note any specific instructions you would like included in my acknowledgement of Copyright Ownership:

Terms and conditions
Please note any terms and conditions of the permission:

Make sure you are communicating with the person who controls or owns the copyright. This may be the publisher or the author. Some publishers will require you to also obtain the permission of the author.

Urgent requests

If you urgently need to get permission you can fast track the process by obtaining permission by phone. Make sure you write down:

  • Time and date of the call
  • Name of the person giving permission
  • Extent of the permission being given

You should follow this up with a formal request in writing to confirm the permission which has been given.


You need permission from anyone who has contributed to a performance or recording to include a video or a sound recording of it in your publication. Each contributor holds copyright over their own work. This includes producers, directors, camera and sound operators, musicians, composers, actors, costume and set designers and dramaturges. You should ask each of them to sign a release form giving you permission to include their work in your publication. You do not need to get a release form if you have commissioned and paid a contributor to perform or record the work for you, but you should acknowledge their contribution in your publication.