To find out who the copyright owner of text is, have a look at the work in which it is included.
If the text is published in a book, there is normally a page at the front of the book that includes the copyright details.
Book publishers generally own copyright in books that they publish. For permission to use a newspaper article, contact the newspaper.
If you need help finding out who owns copyright in music lyrics, contact APRA (the Australasian Performing Right Association)/AMCOS (the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) at email@example.com.
Have a look at this example (.doc 25 kB) of an email or letter asking permission to use text that has been written by someone else.