Request Permission to Use Another's Materials • Letter Templates and Guides

How to write this letter:

1Briefly describe your project and explain why you are requesting permission to use some of the reader's material in it.
2Give exact descriptions of the materials to be used, including page numbers, lines or paragraphs, titles, labels, or first and last phrases of excerpted material.
3Explain how you envision your work being published or used.
4State exactly what the credit or permission line will say, so the person can approve it or make suggestions.
5Express appreciation and, if appropriate, offer to share a copy of your finished work.


If you plan to use another's published or unpublished materials to produce another document, you must request permission from the copyright holder.
To make it easy for the person to respond to your request, consider the following: 1) Either include a form for the person to sign and return, or send the letter in duplicate (with an approval space provided) so the person can keep one copy and return the other; 2) Include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Example Letter #1


I am the editor of a small technical communications journal named the Doe Insight and am in the process of reviewing articles for this semester's publication. One of the articles includes a quotation from your book. If you will allow our journal to include the quotation, it will run from the beginning of the last paragraph on page 22, beginning with the words "You can define your own constants ..." to the top of page 23, ending with the words "...can be increased to suit your application."

Enclosed is a copy of the article mentioned above, which we will publish upon receiving your permission to use the quotation. We will need your response by May 15. It will be my pleasure to send you a copy of the journal with your work cited in the bibliography immediately following the article.

I will appreciate receiving your permission to use the quotation very soon.

Example Letter #2


The Springfield Times is compiling information for a special environmental issue to be published in June. In reviewing past pertinent articles, we came across yours entitled, "Railroad: Springfield's Friend or Foe?" May we republish excerpts from your article?

Specifically, we are interested in the portion that details the environmental destruction railroads cause to the communities they service. The portion begins, "Rails laid upon fertile ground ...." and concludes, "Although this railroad provides Springfield with transportation alternatives, the environmental impact on our town is disastrous."

Being an advocate of environmental responsibility, we believe you will be very interested in our June issue, which will inform readers of current environmental dangers and advise them how they can preserve Springfield's natural beauty. Of course, we will credit your publication as follows: "Excerpts taken from John Doe's 'Railroad: Springfield's Friend or Foe?'" If this meets with your approval, we would appreciate a permission statement.

Example Letter #3


I am writing to ask that I be allowed to reprint several stanzas of your poem, "City Hawk," as epigraphs to the 'chapters' in my forthcoming book of photographs. I wish to use stanzas three and four, and stanza nine. They will appear as complete stanzas, exactly as they do in "Doe Works," and in their right order. The book is to be a visual essay of the industrial beauty of what I call "Working Springfield."

Your poem matches the tone I desire precisely. Unless you prefer otherwise, each epigraph will contain the credit line, "John Doe, from 'City Hawk.'" I hope you will approve this use of your work. I would be honored if you would accept a signed copy when the book is finished. I have enclosed a self-addressed envelope. If you would be so kind as to sign and return one copy of this letter indicating your approval, I will proceed.

Example Letter #4


I am compiling examples of advertisements to use in a study packet for the communications class I teach at Springfield College. I would like to use your ads for your new mini-van from three different magazines to illustrate the concept of appealing to different audiences. I would like permission to reproduce your ad on page 125 in the December 2018 issue of The Smithsonian magazine; the ad on page 6 in the November 2018 issue of The Ladies' Home Journal, and the ad on page 54 in the January 2019 issue of Field & Stream.

The ads will be reproductions, in color, in the students' course packet, along with ads illustrating other concepts. Below each ad will be the words, "Used by permission of Doe Motors, Inc." The attached permission sheet and payment form must be completed and returned to me by February 1, 2019 in order for me to include your ads. Thank you for your assistance. Your ads will be a great asset to my course.

Example Letter #5


I am presenting a paper on peer evaluations as a method of improving student writing at our national conference in June. I would like to use your critique of John Doe's paper as an example of an effective peer evaluation. I would focus particularly on your paragraphs regarding documentation, support, and persuasion.

The relevant paragraphs would be quoted in the paper and projected on a screen during my presentation. I plan to state verbally that this work is that of Jane Doe, a former student. In the paper itself, I will, of course, list your critique on my references page.

I am eager to receive your permission. If you will allow me to use your critique, please sign and return the enclosed standard agreement form in the stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step


Briefly describe your project and explain why you are requesting permission to use some of the reader's material in it.

Example Sentences for Step 1

Example Phrases for Step 1


Express appreciation and, if appropriate, offer to share a copy of your finished work.

Example Sentences for Step 5

Example Phrases for Step 5