Permissions Guidelines

Copyright and intellectual property

Under UK copyright law, as a general rule, permission should be sought from the rightsholder (usually via the publisher) to reproduce any ‘substantial parts’ of any copyright work (for what are or are not ‘substantial parts’, see below).

The Publishers Association

Our Permissions Guidelines for UK Publishers aim to assist UK publishers who are approached for permission to reproduce copyright material. It also contains information for publishers seeking to reproduce material published by others, such as for an anthology. Negotiations on permissions depend on the respective applicable legal framework and the commercial value of the work.

This guide answers the following common questions about copyright permissions:

  • When does copyright exist?
  • Why and when is it necessary to seek permission?
  • What is a ‘substantial’ part?
  • Are there any copyright exceptions which may apply?
  • What is ‘fair dealing’?
  • What permission fees are appropriate?
  • What if I can’t identify the rightsholder?

Please be aware that the following guidelines are not binding. They constitute our interpretation and do not constitute legal advice. If you are in doubt, we strongly recommend consulting a lawyer with experience in this area to advise on the facts. Visit the UK Intellectual Property Office website for general advice on copyright.