Copyright at NPS

Obtaining Permissions

Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and web sites.  Similarly, thesis authors need to obtain permission to use copyrighted materials.

You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder (i.e. outside the boundaries of fair use).

Steps that need to be followed to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  1. Determine if permission is needed for the work you want to use. Determining Copyright.
  2. Identify the copyright holder or agent. 
  3. Send written request for permission to use.  (Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months. Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty.
  4. If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies for fair use, or use alternative material.

Sample Permission request letter for Faculty

On letterhead
Your contact & address
Include email and fax

Dear ______________________________:

I am requesting permission to reprint [a portion of] the following work:

[Add here full citation information about the work, including author, title, publisher, date of publication, exact pages you are requesting, and any other identifying information; include similar information about a book, motion picture, photograph, music, or any other type of work you might want to use.]

This request is for permission to include the above content [Add here the use: Course management system: on my university’s course management system, known as “[Sakai or Moodle or Blackboard]” here at [the Naval Postgraduate School (, or the name and url of your institution]. The materials will be hosted on a secure university server where they will be accessible only to registered students in my course with password access to the system.

  • In course materials: to be included in course materials I am developing for NPS resident and distance learning students
  • In publications: for republication in my (article, chapter, book – add all details including the publisher of your work)

I believe that you/your company, __________, are/is currently the holder of the copyright, because the original work states that copyright is held in your name/the name of the publisher, and my research indicates that ________________ [additional reason you think this person/company owns the copyright]. If you do not currently hold the rights, please provide me with any information that can help me contact the proper rights holder. Otherwise, your permission confirms that you hold the right to grant me this permission.

This request is for a non-exclusive, irrevocable, and royalty-free permission, and it is not intended to interfere with other uses of the same work by you. I hope that you will support our educational programs by granting this permission. Please indicate your preferred full citation and I will include the citation and any other other acknowledgement as you might request when I make this work available to my students.

If you agree with the terms as described above, please sign the letter where indicated below and return one copy in the enclosed return envelope, via fax or email.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at the address and numbers above if you require any additional information. Thank you for your consideration of this request.



Permission is hereby granted:

Signature: ___________________________
Date: ________________________________
Name & Title: _______________________
Company/Affiliation: ____________________

Sample Copyright Permission Request letter for NPS Students

(This Sample Permissions Letter was modified from SECNAVINST 5870.4A)



(Name of copyright owner or agent)




I request your permission as copyright owner or agent for the copyright owner to include the material identified below in my (Dissertation/Joint Applied Project/MBA Professional Report//Thesis) at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, on a royalty-free, non-exclusive basis. 

  • (Identification of material)
  • (Portion of material to be copied)
  • (Intended use)
  • (Contemplated modifications, if any)

 I will appropriately acknowledge your permission per your requirements in the Acknowledgements section of my Dissertation/Joint Applied Project/MBA Professional Report//Thesis

 A copy of my (Dissertation/Joint Applied Project/MBA Professional Report/Thesis will be made freely available through the Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library, and a copy will be filed with the Defense Technical Information Center, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.

 If you grant me your permission, please sign below and return this original letter in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope.

 A copy of this letter is included for your records.


(Complimentary close)

(Signature of requester)




The above requested permission is granted, royalty-free.  A notice of copyright and credit line is desired and shall read as follows:

I hereby certify that I have the authority to grant this permission.



(Name of copyright owner or authorized agent)        








Enclosure (attach the material you wish to use as found in its original format)