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TRE 2740: Introduction to Lighting and Sound

What is Copyright?

The SPU Library wants to help you find the information you need as well as help you use it legally and ethically.

As a student and as a performer/director/designer, there are certain guidelines you must follow to be in compliance with copyright law and licensing agreements.

Being in compliance takes planning and careful work. Allow yourself plenty of time to engage with all the issues related to copyright.

For much more information than what is on this guide, take a look at our Copyright guide and our Copyright for Authors guide.

copyright symbol“Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.”


See also: “Copyright Basics”

Source: Common Sense Education


As a student, you can use scripts

  • that your instructors/directors provide for you
  • that you purchase (or rent)
  • that you borrow from the library

You should not photocopy a script for yourself or someone else even if you purchased it.

As a performer/director/designer

  • For the classroom, each student should use a script that was purchased/rented or borrowed from the library and not a photocopy.
  • Actors should use scripts that were purchased/rented.
  • For a production, you must purchase the performing rights for a script and any music in order to present in front of any audience.
  • You must seek permission for any changes to the script that you wish to make in your production

***If photocopying is absolutely necessary, you should seek permission from the publisher***

Sound Design

You must have permission for all music that you use in the theatre before, during, and after a production.

  • Our campus has license agreements with the major rights holders - ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. You must check!  Do not assume that a piece of music is covered.
  • If you have questions about whether a piece of music is covered at SPU, contact the Risk Management Office

Other ideas:


I am not a lawyer and the information on this page does not constitute legal advice. When in doubt, always check with a lawyer. At SPU, check with the Office of Risk Management,