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How to Get Permission from Publishers to Reprint Content Online

Note to Readers: Now, I know that most writers know all about copyright and such, but I thought I’d write down and post this information for those that are building a website and are confused about adding other people’s content to their site.

A website needs a lot of content to be useful to readers. Sometimes website owner may come across a well-written article in a magazine, newsletter or some type of free content and think, “I wish the readers of my website could read this!” Well, it might be a possibility. Getting permission from publishers to reprint content online is fairly simple. The website owner will need to write a letter to the editor of the publication to get permission to use the piece to avoid copyright problems.

Writing a Content Permission Letter
These types of letters should be simple and to the point. Here is how to write a publication about acquiring free content:

Start by greeting the editor by name. Don’t use Mr., Mrs. or Miss. Use just their name.
The website owner should tell the editor why he loved the article and why he would like to use it. Don’t go on and on. State the point in a few sentences.
Ask the editor who owns the copyright to the article. If the publication owns the copyright then permission may be granted right away. If the writer of the article owns the copyright, the editor will need to direct you on how to get in touch with the writer. Ask the editor for this information, nicely.
Offer to mention the publication on your site or give them free ad space for their time and generosity.
Spell check the letter and make sure the letter sounds professional.
Either print out your letter and mail it to the publication or email it.

Some Tips on Acquiring Free Content for Websites

The process for writing a permission letter may be easy, but there are a few things that a website owner should keep in mind when trying to acquire free website content:
The editor may ask you to pay a small fee for the article, so be prepared.
If there is no response after two weeks, send a follow-up letter. A follow-up can simply say, “I was wondering if you received my letter about your article ‘XYZ’. Thank you for your time.”
Don’t ask over and over again or get mad if the publication says no. The publication has the right to say no.
Don’t use the article any way. This is against the law and website owners who do this could end up in court.
Don’t try to use articles that are already posted on the internet. This could make the site’s search engine rating go down.

Acquiring free articles is a good way to beef up the content of a site and provide helpful information to the reader. Using these tips, a website owner will be able to go through the legal way of acquiring content.
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