Answered By: Karrie Bullock
Last Updated: Jun 29, 2016     Views: 6

There are many answers to the question of copyright, but an important question to ask. 

Copyright is defined by the United States Copyright Office as: 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 Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.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 the link at the bottom for an informative FAQ overview of copyright.

Otherwise, if we are looking for an example of copyright to use to cite, typically it is found in the publisher's information on the verso (reverse side) of the title page of a book.  It will sometimes even have a handy copyright symbol © in front of the date.

If there are multiple editions of a book, sometimes there will be multiple dates given: use the most recent date provided, because you are looking in that edition of the book.  For an article or journal, cite the date of the journal publication.  See our research guide on Citing Sources for clarification.

In essence, this is why citing sources is so important to your paper, website, bibliography, and beyond.  It avoids plagarism and gives credit to the author(s) whose "expression" or "intellectual property" a quote belongs to.