How to Clear Copyright Permissions

Copyright Clearance

Republishing news articles on your company’s website or in its newsletter is a great way to economically obtain fresh content which may be of interest to your customers.

Business that want to reprint news articles, however, must obtain the correct copyright permissions prior to publication. Not taking proper steps before republishing articles can lead to a demand letter with the threat of litigation — or in some cases (e.g. Righthaven) a lawsuit without warning. Without question, it is less expensive to clear copyright permissions ahead of time rather than attempt to clean up copyright infringement after the fact.

The good news is that clearing copyright permissions is often very easy.

For clearing text, such as online articles, newspapers and periodicals the first two stops are the Copyright Clearance Center ( and iCopyright (

These two services broker a huge number of publications and authors and there is a good chance that the they have authority to grant you the republication rights you need.

If these two organizations do not have an agreement with a particular publisher or author you will need to contact the publisher and/or author directly to obtain the correct permissions. Typically this involves (i) writing or emailing the publisher or author with your request; (ii) agreeing on terms and fees; (iii) and memorializing the agreement in writing.

Finally no matter how you obtain permission, make sure you have something in writing (even an email) granting you the republication or distribution rights for the article you want to use.

Remember — clearing copyright permissions before republishing articles can save you and your business a lot of headaches in the long run.