Internal, open access

Writing a Book or Book Chapter

Publishers usually require evidence that you have obtained copyright clearance for third party content included in your book or book chapter. Third party content includes material such as diagrams, charts, maps and so on.

Your book or book chapter may also include unpublished works such as extracts from private letters, postcards, diaries as well as photographs. Be careful when dealing with unpublished works because you will always need permission of the copyright owner before publishing it. In many cases copyright belongs to the individual's estate rather than the independent archive, unless the archive has a formal contract under which the copyright owner has assigned the copyright to the archive. Permission to reproduce this material must be sought before publication.

However, you don't always need the permission of the copyright holder of published works (who in some cases is the publisher if you are using material from journal articles for example). Situations when you don't need permission are:

1. When you are directly critiquing or reviewing the material

2. For short quotations of text provided they are all correctly cited

3. If the work is out of copyright (duration of copyright is usually for 70 years following the death of the author). NB this does not apply to unpublished works

4. If the work is released under a licence which allows you to reproduce it commercially, such as a  Creative Commons BY licence

 You will need to obtain permission from the copyright holder to use the content in all other circumstances.   


Using images for book covers

If you wish to use an image on the front cover of your book, you must always get permission from the copyright holder to do so. If you intend to crop, distort or change the colour of the image (for example, adding colour to a black and white photograph), please ensure that you let the copyright holder know that this is what you intend to do. All of these actions constitute derivative works which must be cleared with the copyright holder before proceeding.   

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