Getting Permission - Creative Law Center

Getting Permission

Getting Permission: Licensing Creative Work [Live Workshop]

As soon as you put your work down on paper, you own the copyright.

The technical phrase is when the creative work is “fixed in a tangible medium,” then the copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work.

Think about the flip side of the coin: When somebody else has put their creative work down on paper, they own the copyright. When you want to use that person’s creative work in your own project, you need their permission (with a few exceptions).

If you use their work without permission, you could be poking a hornet’s nest. Poking a hornet’s nest can be a risky thing to do.

When you don’t have permission, it’s not just the risk of getting sued. Think about what you would do if you found someone using your work without permission. My guess is that you wouldn’t run right to the courthouse.

Instead, you might issue a takedown notice on the infringer’s Amazon account, Youtube channel, or Etsy store, or any platform that is the basis of their business.

Once one of these platform shuts you down . . . you’re done. Once you are kicked off Amazon, Youtube or Etsy, that’s it. It can happen faster than [insert simile here].

None of those marketplaces want to hear your theory of why it’s fair use. You’ll need to make that speech in a courtroom.

But if you have permission when you need it, you won’t get stung (returning to original simile).

Getting permission is the topic of this month’s workshop in the Creative Law Center.

In this month’s workshop, we’re going to cover the basic procedure for getting permission:

  • determining if permission is needed
  • how to identify the owner of the work you want to use
  • how to define the rights you need
  • how to negotiate payment for the rights you need
  • how to get the permission in writing

Our guest this month is Lynn O’Connell. Lynn is an advocate for universal healthcare. In 2022, she published a nearly 500-page reference book entitled Demand Universal Healthcare (DUH!) in which she compiled hundreds of articles, web pages, and other resources on the subject – all of which were written by others. Lynn spent countless hours contacting the copyright owners to secure permission to include their work in her publication, a book designed to help others better understand our current healthcare system and to encourage them to become advocates for universal healthcare. Lynn will share how she organized and managed the permission process that resulted in her book.

This workshop is being offered as a stand alone opportunity. You do not have to be a member of the Creative Law Center to attend it (members will have access, of course, and need not purchase the workshop separately). You’ll get an email with the Zoom link for Wednesday, December 20th at 1 p.m. ET once you sign up. You will have access to the replay for at least a year.

This is a live, interactive workshop using Zoom. You will be able to ask questions in real time, so bring your list.

Get Permission Here.

This workshop will show you how to get the rights you need to finish your project. Learn when to ask for permission, whom to ask, and how much you should expect to pay.

Join us on December 20th at 1 p.m. ET.

About the Author

Kathryn Goldman helps small business people, writers, artists, and creative professionals make a living from their creative work by teaching them how to protect and enforce their rights. She is an attorney who writes these posts to help you be more thoughtful about intellectual property and the law as you build your business, write your stories, and create your art.