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I‘m part of a small group of hobbyist producing an audio play podcast for fun. We don‘t make any revenue - no ads, no donations, no fees, no affiliate links. We have around 600 listeners.

Now we have come across a novella from the 60s which we would like to adapt into an audio play. The copyright owners seem to be the author‘s heirs, represented by an estate representative.

What would be a good way to ask the rights holders for permission?

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    Send them an email. Start off with a formal greeting, then paste in the first 2 lines of this exact question. Finish off by asking if you may use their material for your podcast. Then sign-off. very simple. – Rstew Dec 16 '17 at 14:38
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I do X and I really enjoyed your novella Y. I would like to adapt it for the podcast. Please contact me so we can explore licensing options. Thank you and have a nice day.

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Dale M's response is good, but I have one small tip.

The words "explore licensing options" could open Pandora's box; it might encourage them to charge a fee. I usually just ask for permission, period - even if I want to use an image in a commercial work. Usually, they say 1) "Go ahead and use it," 2) "Sorry, but we don't own the rights to that picture" or 3) "You can use it for $50."

If they charge a fee, then, of course, it's up to me to pay the fee or pass on that particular image. If it isn't in my budget, I thank them and explain why I can't use it. Sometimes I say "Thanks, but my budget is drained. However, I'll probably buy it and use it in a companion project I'm working on."

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  • Permission is a license. – Brandin May 16 '18 at 10:18
  • It may be a license in the broad sense of the term, but it isn't something to get hung up on. I've made countless permission requests, to individuals and organizations, and I don't think I've ever requested a "license," nor has anyone ever told me to include the word "license" in the credit. It's more usual to write something like "Used with permission of Robert Jones," or "Courtesy the Alabama Museum of Natural History." – David Blomstrom May 16 '18 at 10:32

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