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Theater Arts: Citations & Copyright

What Can Be Copyrighted?

Copyright protection is extended to original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, whether published or unpublished, including:
  1. literary works;
  2. musical works, including any accompanying words;
  3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works;
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  7. sound recordings; and
  8. architectural works.

Citing Images

All images need to be cited within the context of the work or presentation (website, paper, project, etc.).  Different style guides require different information.  Below is a list of what might be needed to cite an image:

  • Title
  • Artist name
  • Repository information (museum, library, or owner)
  • Image source (database, website, book, postcard, vendor, etc.)
  • Material or medium such as oil on canvas, marble, found objects
  • Date accessed

For Further Reading

What is Copyright?

copyright symbol

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors of "original works" that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.  Copyright does not protect ideas; copyright protects the expression of ideas.

Under copyright law (Section 106, 1976 Copyright Act) the copyright owner is granted the following exclusive rights:

• To reproduce the work (i.e. to make copies);
• To prepare derivative works (i.e. to make a movie from a book or to translate a work into another language);
• To distribute copies publicly;
• To perform the work publicly (i.e. a play or movie);
• To display the work publicly; and
• In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

The owner of the copyright may transfer all or part of these rights to others. See the section on Author Rights(?)

Subject to some exceptions described in this guide (including fair use), if a person exercises any of these rights in use of another’s work without permission, the person may be liable for copyright infringement. 

Citation & Style Guides in the Library

Copyright & Fair Use

Use Gumberg Library's guide on Copyright & Fair Use for detailed information on copyright, fair use, open access, and more.

Copyright Resources