How to Legally Use Copyrighted Materials

By Khalidah Tunkara
Using copyrighted material must be authorized for use by the rightful owner.
Copyright. image by Blue Moon from

Any original material that is created by anyone, registered with the Library of Congress or published is considered copyrighted. Deciding to use copyrighted material without securing legal permission could cause a legal battle and an assortment of copyright infringement fees.

Review the copyrighted material to determine who is the rightful copyright owner. Often times, an article or any published material is republished from another source. This republished material may have been taken without permission from the original owner, therefore always check the published material against a plagiarism checker to find other unknown authors. A plagiarism checker is a simple tool that matches content against published material to check for possible copied content.

Contact the copyright owner in writing, either by email or a written letter, to request permission to use his copyrighted material in your own publication. Contacting the owner in writing will provide documentation that legal permission to use the material was requested and obtained.

Provide a clip or notable mention of the copyrighted information in your references or bibliography section to allow anyone viewing the new material to have a clear understanding that the procured information was garnered through legal channels.

About the Author

Khalidah Tunkara is an accomplished freelance writer and journalist based in Atlanta, Ga. Tunkara began her writing career in 1994 and attended Georgia Perimeter College. Her articles have appeared in "The New Trend," "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," and Trails Travel. Tunkara is the featured Headline News writer for the Examiner.