If you are publishing a book, academic journal or some other type of written work, you may at some point have the need to use screenshots from web pages or computer software as images. Some companies allow screenshots without a permission letter and instead require you to attribute their work whenever it is used, while others prefer to deal with each case individually. In that case, you will have to get permission from the owner of the website or the creator of the content. To do this, you'll need to create a formal letter that is well written and clearly states your purpose.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
Type your name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address at the top of the page. Include your website as well, if you have one.
Type the date below your name and address line.
Type in the addressee's formal title and mailing address.
Introduce yourself and state in the most basic way the purpose of your letter. You might start with something like "My name is V------ and I am the owner of V------. I am writing to you to request permission to use several screenshots from your software."
Delve more specifically into what parts of the software, web page or other media you will be using in the screenshots, starting with a new paragraph. For example, you might say, "I would like to specifically use the 'Theme Chooser' page from Keynote '09 5.0.5. to demonstrate how graphic presentations can improve online marketing." The key here is to be as specific as possible about what you will be showing in your screenshots and why those are relevant to the work you are doing.
Provide detailed information at the close of the letter, including the date when you would like to use these screenshots, if it is for a specific event, or the publication deadline you have. Give the addressee a set amount of time (not too little; you may be working with large corporations that have lots of red tape) to respond, and allow them plenty of ways to contact you.
Tips and warnings
- Purchase delivery confirmation from your mail carrier. Also keep a signed copy of the letter. If you want to be extra cautious, sign it in the presence of a notary. If you should run into trouble with the company later on, this would provide some proof that you requested permission --- although just requesting it is no longer satisfactory for many publishing houses. You need to receive the permission.
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