Sometimes it is unclear who owns the copyright of a work. This is particularly true to images such as photographs. The U.S. Copyright Office provides advice on searching for the copyright status of a work as well as who owns the copyright in Circular 22 and Circular 23.
Harry Ransom Center's Guide to Obtaining Permission
AcqWeb's Directory of Publishers and Vendors (Last updated in 2004)
Copylaw.com - How to get Permission.
A Guide to Music Clearances and Permissions by Monica Corton
Permission from copyright holders is often needed when creating course materials, research papers, and Web sites. You need to obtain permission when you use a work in a way that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to a copyright holder, i.e., reproducing part or all of a copyrighted work outside the boundaries of acceptable fair use. The following is a step-by-step guide to aid you in planning strategies to obtain permission to use copyrighted works for educational purposes.
Sample model permission letters from other universities:
These sample letters should be reviewed and modified to fit the specifics of your request. Your letter should provide complete and accurate information and include a self-addressed stamped envelope to expedite the permission process. For more information on what types of information to include in your permission letter, see UC Policy and Guidelines on the Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials for Teaching and Research, Appendix 2.
Model Permission Form Letters from Columbia University.
Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center - Basics of Getting Permission.
Vassar College Guide to Asking for Permission.
List of Collective Licensing Agencies from Columbia Universtiy.
Citizen Media Guide to Obtaining Permission.
DLib Magazine Article on Obtaining Permission.