Copyright is a type of intellectual property and is a legal right that protects the use of dramatic, artistic, literary, musical and other works, including images.

How does copyright apply to RSC images? 

All images (photographs, designs, artworks etc.) are automatically protected by copyright from the moment they are created. No legal process is required to register a work as being copyrighted and they do not need to be accompanied by a © symbol.

In the UK, copyright lasts for the lifetime of the creator of the image, plus 70 years after their death. Copyright can also be assigned to a company, an agency or an estate, even after the death of the creator, within the 70 year term. Our images fall under the restrictions of UK copyright law, no matter where you are in the world.

We own the copyright of a large number of images of our productions that we can license for commercial use. However, there are some images of our productions that are not RSC copyright and are owned by other photographers or companies. Where this applies, we will try and assist you to source the copyright owner to gain permission for use. 

Oberon drops magic potion into Titania's eyes
A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Peter Brook, 1970
Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC Browse and license our images

How does this affect me?

We allow use of RSC images free of charge for personal use and private study, outlined below. If you want to use an RSC image for a use that is not defined as personal use or private study, we ask that you gain permission for this use first, or, for commercial uses, license our images. Please do not use our images for public use without first checking with us.

If you are using our images for personal use or private study, you must ensure you credit the image appropriately, as such:
Photo by [photographer's name] © RSC.

Copyright is fairly straightforward in principle, but each case may be subtly different or have layered restrictions. You can contact us for advice about copyright or about using our images by emailing


 The RSC defines personal use and private study as:

  1. Reference use for academic study;
  2. Pictorial reference in unpublished academic essays, dissertations or theses
  3. Visual representation in a classroom or for an educational activity (this does not include use online, in locked educational platforms, or any published/distributed educational resource); or
  4. Private use at home (which does not include creation of gift materials including, but not limited to, mugs, t-shirts etc.)