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Macmillan Learning

Using third party material in your publication

Protecting the intellectual property of our authors is an important element of our responsibilities as a publisher, and in turn we try to set a high standard when using the Intellectual Property of others in the work that we publish and sell.

If you intend to use 3rd Party Material in your manuscript, please review the information provided in the sections below for guidance. We are not able to give you legal advice (you should always seek your own independent legal advice if you require it). Please note that Macmillan Learning does not take any responsibility for the content found on external websites which we have linked to.


IIf you would like to include material sourced from a third party in your work, please discuss this with us at the earliest possible stage, ideally before the writing process to avoid encountering difficulties later on.
  • You may only include 3rd party material in your manuscript with the prior consent of your editor, this includes epigraphs.
  • You will need to seek permission to reproduce any 3rd party material included, unless you are using items that are:
    o not subject to copyright (e.g. where the term of copyright has expired)
    o covered by a copyright exception
    o covered by a pre-existing license
  • As Springer Nature is an STM publisher you are able to reuse a limited amount of material from other STM signatories for free. Your editorial contact will be able to provide more information on how to apply for these.
  • Applying for re-use permission is time consuming and can also be expensive (in most cases you will be responsible for payment of any fees).
  • It can be hard to negotiate the range of rights required in order to make publication of your work viable.
  • Other legal issues may arise from the way in which you use material in your manuscript. These other issues might include, but are not limited to, libel and privacy.

The best advice we can give you is to avoid including any 3rd party material for which permission would need to be sought.

If you are doing a new edition, it is good practice to check all 3rd party permissions to ensure they cover this use. If material requires reclearance for new editions, fees charged in the past may have increased, and material free to reuse in the past might now carry a charge. As the rights and technological landscape changes, publishers now require more extensive rights, so do ensure that any existing licenses you have adhere to the rights required.

For adaptions, clearing right is actually more difficult and time-consuming than clearing exact copies so we advise to avoid them where possible.


Note for Editors of Collections

If you are editing a collection of essays, you must ensure that a license agreement has been reached with each contributor. It is usual for the contributor either to assign copyright or license all publishing rights to you or to Macmillan Learning to enable the volume to be treated thereafter as a whole. Your editorial contact will give you the necessary forms for signature. A completed, signed form for each contributor should be delivered with your final manuscript. You should additionally ensure that each contributor is aware of the requirements outlined here regarding use of third party content, including their own previously published items.


Assessing Whether Permission is Required

Compile a list of the third party material you intend to use, using the Permissions Tracker.

Is the material:

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes', you won't need to clear permission. However you should still complete the Permissions Tracker detailing the terms under which you are using these items, including acknowledgements, when you submit your draft manuscript (please provide dated print outs/screen prints for pre-existing license terms).

If the answer to these questions is 'no' for any item, consider whether it could be dropped from your work altogether or replaced with an alternative (it may be possible to modify the use so that a copyright exception would apply).
If, at the end of this process, there are still items for which you need to seek permission, please advise your editor before proceeding.


Your Own Previously Published Work

If you wish to reproduce material that you have previously published, unless you have specifically retained the right to do so in any publication agreement that you signed at the time, it is highly likely that you will need to obtain the consent of the work's original publisher to reproduce the work elsewhere. The terms and conditions that publishers apply to such re-use varies considerably. Some publishers, particularly of journals, have ‘retained rights' policies that set out what authors can do with their work following its original publication, without a formal permissions request needing to be made. We are only able to include an author's previously published work if the terms and conditions of re-use are in line with our Required Rights. Do discuss use of such material with your editor at the earliest possible stage, and certainly well in advance of submitting your manuscript. Please itemise such material on your Permissions Tracker and supply a copy of the permissions grant obtained or a dated printout of the original publisher's ‘Retained Rights' policy.


Pre Existing Licenses

This term is used to refer to content which has been made available with licensing terms that allow re-use without needing to make a specific application. This would include content made available under some Creative Commons Licenses, the UK Government's Open Government License and many other businesses where terms and conditions available on-line state what can and can't be done with their content. If you intend to use material which is covered by a pre-existing license then you must ensure that the terms and conditions of such a license are sufficiently broad and in line with our Required Rights. Be aware that it may not be possible to accept some pre-existing license terms, for example in the case of Creative Commons, we couldn't publish anything with an NC (non-commercial) or SA (share alike) suffix. If you intend to adapt any material, do ensure that the license permits adaptations or derivatives (Creative Commons licenses use ND to indicate ‘no derivatives'). If you are unsure whether the terms and conditions are acceptable, do speak to your editorial contact who will be able to advise.

Please itemise any material used under a pre-existing license on your Permissions Tracker ensuring that you supply a copy or screen print of the license terms that apply (remember to date them).

Do ensure that you comply with any requirements for re-use of the material under the license, for example how the material should be acknowledged. It may be possible to accommodate requirements for link backs but do raise this with your editorial contact for confirmation.


Applying for permission

  • Start the formal application process at the very latest 3 months in advance of the final delivery date for your work, though contact any businesses and organizations (rather than publishers) much earlier since their own legal teams may need to look over the request and this can take many months.
  • Identifying the rights holder for a piece of work you wish to re-use can be tricky. In general you should start with the original publisher of the piece. Do bear in mind that multiple publishers may need to be approached to get all the rights you need e.g. one publisher may hold US rights and another European etc. (See Web Resources for links to major publishers and other useful sources of information for tracking down rights holders).
  • You should use the Global Permissions Request Letter to request permission from the rights holder. Sometimes publishers will only consider requests submitted through their own forms. In these cases you may need to negotiate any required rights that are missing from their initial licence.
  • In addition to the Global Permissions Request Letter, the following, even if created by yourself, would likely need an additional release:
    - excerpts from interviews, it is likely you will need to also complete an interview agreement form
    - photos with people in it (and always for children), it is likely you will also need a model release
    - a photo containing a prominent image of a building or structure, a release would also be required
    Your editorial contact can supply the above forms should you/the rights holder require them.
  • As a general rule, chase up the rights holder if you haven't heard from them within 3-4 weeks, by phone if you can. However, do note that some rights holders require 6-8 weeks or longer to respond to initial requests so do allow for that.
  • When you receive permission from the rights holder, ensure you have been granted all of the rights requested. The Required Rights table details the minimum, acceptable license terms. If the rights granted are insufficient, and cannot be negotiated, we will be unable to include the content in your work since it will restrict the sales opportunities, on which acceptance of your work was based. In such circumstances we will discuss the available options with you.
  • Rights holders may charge a fee for re-use of their material and/or you may be asked for a complimentary copy of the book. Please note that authors are responsible for fulfilling all such contractual obligations. Do not make any payment until you have confirmed with your editorial contact that the material is able to be included in the final work. If you feel fees charged by rights holders are unreasonable, do try to negotiate, emphasising the scholarly nature of your work. Your editorial contact may be able to provide further advice on this if required.
  • Submit all letters of request and letters granting permission, along with your completed Permissions Tracker when you send us your draft manuscript.
  • List any acknowledgement wording required by the rights holder (or a standard form of acknowledgement if one isn't provided) on your Permissions Tracker for compilation into the acknowledgements page of your manuscript in addition to providing a full reference in the text or notes.

Using material under a copyright exception

In copyright law there are ‘exceptions' that permit certain types of limited re-use of copyright material without the need to seek permission of the rights holder (you might hear these referred to as Fair Use or Fair Dealing).
It is a policy requirement that authors of Macmillan Learning publications may only include items in their manuscript under a copyright exception (regardless of the place of publication) if:
  • The item has been previously published
  • It has been properly acknowledged
  • It is used within the context of criticism and review (not simply illustrative)
  • Use of the 3rd party material is restricted to the minimum amount necessary to demonstrate the point being made and does not take the ‘heart of' or ‘essence' of the original creator's work.
  • The use does not infringe the original creator's moral rights
Please note any items used under copyright exception on your Permissions Tracker.


Do note that since epigraphs will rarely meet the criteria above for use under a copyright exception, and are rarely essential to the manuscript, we strongly discourage use of epigraphs in all our publications, unless they are taken from sources which are either out of copyright or available under an appropriate pre-existing license. If you feel that it is essential to include epigraphs in your work, please discuss this with your editorial contact.


Required Rights Table

The table below outlines the Rights that we seek to acquire in third party content. Our Global Permissions Letter requests the rights outlined in the Expected column. If the rights holder does not grant the expected rights it may be possible to accept some limited restrictions, these are outlined in the ‘acceptable' column.





This and all future editions.

Current edition only.

Derivative Works

This and all derivative works.

This work only.


All media and formats.

Paperback, hardcover and all digital formats.



English Language (except for US originated publications which have been designated 'trade titles' where all languages must be cleared).



World (you may need to secure permission from multiple rights holders in order to get world coverage).

Excerpts for Promotional Use

All promotional use permitted.

Internal Images: Can exclude advertising and/or publicity only ( must still state promotional use)

Cover Images: None (We cannot accept any restrictions on marketing for cover images)

Print Run restrictions

No limit on print or e, instead try for 'lifetime of edition'.

Before applying for any permission that requires you to give a print run or quantity, discuss this with your editorial contact. They will be able to advise

Term/ Duration

No limit, instead try for 'lifetime of edition'.

Please discuss any restrictions with your editorial contact.

Other Restrictions


Discuss any restrictions with your editorial contact (it is possible that some minor restrictions that don't materially affect our ability to sell the book, may be acceptable.)


Web Resources

The following websites may be useful points of reference when clearing permissions.

Bibliographic data

  • Amazon UK/Amazon US - For more recent publications, Amazon provides an excellent starting point to locate the publisher of a work. Amazon sources its information from bibliographic agencies who in turn are supplied directly by publishers, so its information is usually reliable and up to date.
  • British Library catalogue - You can search across the whole of the British library collection, and can find basic bibliographic information, including publisher. Especially good for older works.
  • Library of Congress catalogue - The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and its catalogue contains over 12 million records. The search facility is similar to that of the British Library.

Copyright Advice

Contact information (general)

  • WATCH - The WATCH File (Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders). This can be a good starting point for identifying rights holders for writers and artists.– mainly in relation to their unpublished material.

Some rights holders are represented by Collecting Societies who offer permissions clearance services for their members:

  • ALPSP (The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers) (UK and international) - ALPSP is mainly concerned with not-for-profit publishing, and has an international membership. Many small journals publishers can be found on this site.
  • ARS (The Artist's Right's Society)
  • CCC (The Copyright Clearance Center)
  • DACS (The Design and Artists Copyright Society)
  • PA (The Publishers Association) (UK) - PA provides a list of all of its member publishers, with contact details, website addresses, etc.
  • PLS (The Publishers Licensing Society) (UK)
  • PPA (The Periodical Publishers Association) (UK) - PPA is the best site for tracking down magazine publishers. Contains similar listings to the other publisher organisations.

Contact information (UK academic publishers)

Contact information (authors and agents)

  • AAR (US) - Association of Authors Representatives provides database of agents.

Contact information (Other Rights Holders)

  • National Archives (for UK Open Government Licence)
  • Microsoft - Details permissions policy for all Microsoft products and brands, including the use of screen shots.
  • Royal Mail (for information about using stamps)