Once we have determined the assumed copyright holder,
our next step is to make personal contact to request permission.
In the early years of this project we first contacted copyright
holders by simply mailing them permissions packets (described
below). However, we were not satisfied with the number of
signed permissions we were receiving relative to the number
of packages sent out. We therefore decided to change our
procedure and initially make personal contact with the copyright
holder, or someone in the copyright holder's organization,
prior to sending out the permissions packet. By doing this
we are able to confirm that the entity that we contact is
indeed the document's copyright holder. Furthermore, we
establish a relationship with a specific person to whom
we can address the permissions packet, thereby ensuring
that the package arrives in the hands of an appropriate
person who is already familiar with us and our project.
In this process we also identify a specific person we can
contact to follow up.
Our preferred method of initial contact is by telephone.
We explain our purpose and ask to speak to someone responsible
for copyright permissions. When we reach someone who will
discuss our request, we explain who we are and the nature
of our project. We try to learn about the organization's
policies in regard to making their material available online
in a research database.
PFA's Permission Packets
upon contact research, we compile customized "permissions
packets" that include a cover letter explaining who
we are, the nature of the CineFiles project, and the objective
of obtaining copyright permission. A permissions packet
also contains a list of the copyright holder's documents
currently in our database; a permission form for signature;
a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of the signed
permission form; and a set of sample pages taken from the
CineFiles website showing the actual screens a researcher
would see when researching a given film title.
When we receive the copyright holder's signed permission
form, we enter this information in the Filemaker Pro digital
rights management database. We change the copyright holder's
status in our CineFiles database so that the copyright holder's
documents (and all their future documents if blanket permission
is given) are viewable by users of our CineFiles site on
the World Wide Web.