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Copyright & Fair Use

Request Permission

If you wish to use copyrighted materials in a way that exceeds the allowance of fair use, it is usually possible to obtain permission through the copyright holder, publisher, and/or Copyright Clearance Center. Library staff can help you obtain the information necessary to place these orders, but we cannot place the orders on behalf of departments or individuals.

Publishers may charge fees for permission to use copyrighted material. Departments are responsible for all costs associated with acquiring permission. Please plan to make your requests at least 30 days in advance of need. 

Email your campus's Library for more information. Please include the following information in your e-mail:

  • Full citation(s)
  • How will the material be used? (example: PDFs uploaded in Canvas)
  • How many copies? / How many people will have access to the material?
  • If posted electronically, how long will the material be available online?

Commercial Services

Several commercial services, such as XanEdu exist for clearing copyright and building course packs. These companies will obtain copyright permissions for entire course reading lists. They package the readings, and the packs can be distributed electronically or in print. There are fees associated with these commercial services, and not all publishers may work with them. If you have any questions about working with a commercial service, please contact your campus library.

Tests and Measures

  • Tests and measurements fall under copyright protection, just as other works do.

  • This means that unless you can find evidence that permission has been given for anyone to use a particular instrument, you will need to request permission from the developer(s) of a test or instrument to use it if you are planning to publish the results.

  • Even if you can find the full text of an instrument, that still does not mean that anyone is free to use that instrument.

  • If the instrument is not accessible online or via published content, contacting the developer(s) may be the only way to obtain the full text of the instrument.

  • If you need help finding information about a test or measurement, visit the Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) database, or scan through the reference lists from articles that use the instrument. CINAHL can also be useful to find such articles with its “instrumentation” field.


The information presented in this guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  Matters of law are subject to interpretation, and University Counsel is the source of authoritative information for Thomas Jefferson University. If you have specific legal questions pertaining to Thomas Jefferson University, please contact the Office of University Counsel. Copies of TJU Policies can also be accessed from on campus.

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