COPYRIGHT RESOURCES PROJECT:
Working with Copyright–Protected Materials in a Digital Environment

BAM/PFA WEBSITE

COPYRIGHT RESOURCES PROJECT

CINEFILES FILM DOCUMENT IMAGE DATABASE

COPYRIGHT TOOLBOX

COPYRIGHT TOOLBOX
Overview of PFA's Copyright Clearance Procedures

This procedural information about copyright clearance should be relevant to the efforts of any organization seeking to obtain permission to use copyrighted material, particularly in nonprofit, library, and research environments.

Since the CineFiles database’s public launch in 1996, it has offered access to public domain materials, as well as to copyright-protected materials that we have permission to display. Over the years, PFA has developed, tested, and refined the procedures outlined below for requesting copyright holders' permissions to provide online access to protected materials. This procedural information about copyright clearance should be relevant to the efforts of any organization seeking to obtain permission to use copyrighted material, particularly in nonprofit, library, and research environments.

This document describes strategies for identifying copyright holders and researching contact information, as well as resources available through the U.S. Copyright Office and even corporate entities to assist in such matters. The process developed by PFA involves using permissions packets whose delivery and status are tracked in a database, and also, importantly, making personal contact with identified copyright holders, which can greatly facilitate achieving permission to display material. We present here several possible scenarios that may arise in this process, and our responses, including such challenges as difficulty in identifying actual copyright holders, and resistance or refusal to permit display of copyrighted materials. Also detailed here are the necessary tasks involved in tracking and administering the permissions process when many hundreds of documents and copyright holders may be involved. Finally, we address the feasibility to date of using various copyright-protecting technologies.