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Can I revoke a grant on usage, of a copyrighted work? (not licensed)

Say I give permission to someone to use my copyrighted work. After some time I change my mind, for whatever reason, can I explicitly ask the grantee to stop using my work? Despite the fact that I have previously (verbally) agreed for the grantee to use said copyrighted work? If yes, under what circumstances am I permitted to pursue legal action, if the grantee fails to comply with my request of removal?

  • When someone asks for permission to use your work in their project, they usually ask for the permission to "use" your work. So saying yes, you grant them a permission to use it, i just shortened it to "usage grant"
    – Gordon Zar
    Jan 28, 2023 at 18:13
  • What do you mean by "(not licensed)"? If you told me that I can use your work in a certain way (e.g. if you said I could put a copy on my web site), then to me that statement is a sort of license.
    – Brandin
    Jan 30, 2023 at 9:44
  • @Brandin the answer already pointed that out
    – Gordon Zar
    Jan 30, 2023 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


Unless your grant was irrevocable, you can end the licence going forward

A “grant on usage, of a copyrighted work” is a licence - a licence is simply permission to do something that the law would not normally allow.

So, yes, you can revoke the licence. However, you cannot invalidate anything that was done while the licence was in effect. If the grantee had say, made derivative works during the period of the grant, they would be allowed to use those works and to create more copies of those (because they own the copyright in them). They would not be able to make new derivative works.


Possibly. If you have a contractual agreement, where you grant permission to use in exchange for something of value, then you cannot just cancel the contract. If you have granted a "bare license" meaning you said "sure, you can use my pencil", then you might be able to "take it back". However it depends on what exactly you said: your permission might have reasonably seemed to be a regular license, and the person could have relied on your promise, so you could be estopped from asserting that there is no permission.

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