Publishers' Licensing Services has introduced PLSclear, a free service for authors and editors seeking permission to reuse content.

Have you ever wondered whether you need to seek permission to reuse extracts of third-party content in your own work? Or have you found it frustrating and time-consuming to get such permission to reuse an extract from a book, journal, magazine or website? Then PLSclear from Publishers’ Licensing Services (PLS) may be of help!

PLS has developed PLS PermissionsRequest, a free service to help streamline the process of requesting permission to reuse published content.

How PLSclear can help

PLS PermissionsRequest provides access to PLSclear, a free-to-use online tool that guides authors and editors through the process quickly and easily. PLSclear collects the information a publisher needs to make a quick decision about your request and routes it through to the appropriate person at the current publisher of the work. In many cases the service quickly issues a fee quote for the reuse or, in some circumstances, a licence. In other cases the publisher will respond directly to the request. The service enables the requester to track their progress of the request online.

PLS recognises that the path for those seeking permission is not always a smooth one, and that some publishers are not always set up to process permissions requests efficiently. As a not-for-profit organisation that works with publishers to provide access to their content through collective licensing services, PLS has decided to make use of its unique position to help streamline the permissions process and make it easier for both authors to request permission and for publishers to handle such requests.

As the permissions process can be complex, here are some questions worth considering from the outset:

When do I need permission?

The general rule is that you need permission to reuse any content that is still in copyright. Certain uses, for example for non-commercial research or private study, do not require permission. However, if in doubt, you should always seek permission.

What information will I need to provide to the rights holder?

This will depend on the intended use, but as a general principle you will need to provide information on exactly what content you want to use, including the page numbers and word count. You will also need to tell the publisher how you will be reusing it and for what purpose, the title of your new work, the territories in which it will be published and the print run or circulation of your new work. The publisher may sometimes need to ask you for additional information.

How much will I have to pay?

The cost of permission to reuse content depends on the requested use and each case will be different. It will be a decision for the publisher to make. In some cases the publisher may even decide to make no charge.

You can use the PLSclear tool for free at If you have questions or would like further information about the service, you can email or call 020 7079 5940.

Publishers’ Licensing Services

Publishers’ Licensing Services Limited (PLS) provides collective rights management services to publishers by overseeing collective licensing for book, journal, magazine and website copying and distributing resulting licensing revenues to publishers.