Please click on sample cases to see detailed explanations and also to get permission request templates.
See also the section of the Image Use and the Copyright Laws.
The right holders relevant to the use of images are usually in the four categories listed below. You might need to obtain permission from one or more right holders to use that image.
1. Copyright holders
Copyright holders include authors of paintings, prints, sculptures, illustrations, manga, designs and photographers. Copyright holders may also be publishers or people who commissioned specific works. You must obtain permission to use their work for your scholarly publications when the images are still copyrighted under the US or Canadian copyright laws. For fair use or fair dealing regulations concerning image use, see Image Use and the Copyright Laws section.
2. Owners of objects
Whether the photographs are copyrighted or out of copyright, you need the permission of the owner of the object in the photograph. The owners of the object (for example, building, paintings, sculpture, etc.) are usually institutions or organizations such as museums, fine arts museums or temples, while in some cases, they are individuals. Objects in institutional holdings can be in possession of individuals in which case you will need to ask permission from these individuals.
3. Image owners
If you would like to use existing photographs or prints, you need to seek permission from the image owners. For example, if you want to use a photograph of an artifact owned by a museum, you will need the permission of the artifact owner as well as of the museum which owns the rights to the photograph. This also applies to situations where photographs are owned by municipal governments in Japan. If you want to use photographs already published in a book or in other media, you will need the permission of the book publisher or of other media as well as the owner of the original photograph.
4. Subjects in photographs
If a person is in the photograph, it is necessary for you to obtain the permission of the photographed person, or the successor or assignee of such rights, to avoid an infringement of the right of likeness or privacy under the privacy laws and/or right of likeness.
More about using photographs:
When a photograph is in a published work, it is advisable to contact the publisher first because s/he may provide you permission directly. The publisher may also refer you to the right holders and provide you with contact information. In other cases, please consult the Useful Links section in this guide to research who is a right holder and submit your permission request using the appropriate template in the Permission Request Templates.
When you would like to use your own photographs for publications, it is advisable to seek permissions from the right holders at that time when you take them.