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Old 07-09-2017, 05:54 PM
Claudia Gary's Avatar
Claudia Gary Claudia Gary is offline
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Default Intellectual Property / Permissions question

Can anyone tell me whether an email from an author is a sufficient document to prove (if ever challenged) that one has received permission from the author to use a particular work?

If so, are there specific requirements regarding the email itself? (Wording of the question, wording of the reply, identifiability of author, etc.)

And if not, what kind of document must be obtained?

Thanks --

Claudia
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:36 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Assuming there is no dispute about the authenticity of the email itself, I can't see why it wouldn't be sufficient. There's no magic language that is required other than language that clearly and unambiguously give you permission to do what you want to do.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:39 PM
john savoie john savoie is offline
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And some formal permissions are just hard to acquire.
I would use what you can in good faith, and sort it out later if necessary.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:18 PM
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Claudia Gary Claudia Gary is offline
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Roger:

Thank you. I believe in hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. If heirs are friendly, I'm sure they will not look for anything to dispute. If, on the other hand, they do want a dispute, I suspect they will try to find something. I'm trying to be sure that if they ever feel that way, there will be no room for doubt. I'm thinking, maybe, a printed email with a "live" signature added to it....


John:

If only!


Thanks again --

Claudia
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:44 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Claudia, that's why I stressed the use of clear and unambiguous language spelling out precisely what rights they are giving you. It need not be lawyerly language, just absolutely unambiguous and specific. Make sure you cover everything that you anticipate, e.g., what rights, how long, are the rights revocable, etc.

Though not necessary, if you want to make it arguably even more iron-clad, you could provide that they are giving you these rights in exchange for some form of consideration, e.g., $10, and send them that token sum.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:52 AM
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Roger,
Thank you. Does the "token sum" apply even if the author is still alive, and a friend? Or only if the request is posthumous and addressed to heirs?

Last edited by Claudia Gary; 07-11-2017 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:14 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Consideration is an element of contract formation. In a nutshell, both parties to a contract must give something up for a contract to be formed. What they give up is called "consideration." It doesn't matter whether you're dealing with the author or his heirs, so long as it's the person who has authority to give you what you want. They give you the rights you seek, you give them the $10, and voila, it's a contract. I'm not saying this is necessary, mind you. I'd be comfortable moving forward based solely on their express grant of permission, especially since I'm assuming that there's little money involved.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:04 AM
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Thank you again, Roger.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:13 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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At one time even a peppercorn could be sufficient consideration (as in giving a peppercorn to cross the recipient's land). Without such consideration, there would be a "naked promise."
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:39 PM
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Allen, hmm, I would need to see a citation for that.
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