Duration of copyright

Duration of copyright

Contents

Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works

Generally, copyright in literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work ends after 70 years, starting from the end of the calendar year in which the author (or if more than one, the last surviving author) dies.

If the author is unknown, copyright ends either 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made, or if made available to the public in that time, at the end of the period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was made available to the public.

Making a work available to the public includes:

  • For a literary, dramatic or musical work, performing the work in public or communicating it to the public; or
  • For an artistic work, exhibiting it in public, showing a film including the work in public or communicating the artistic work to the public.

Sound recordings

Copyright lasts for:

  • 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the recording is made; or
  • if, during that period, the recording is published, 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was first published; or
  • if, during that period, the recording is not published but is played or communicated in public, 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was first so made available.

Films

Copyright lasts for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the death of the last to die of the specified persons occurs.

Where the identity of one or more of the specified persons is unknown, the 70-year period runs from the end of the calendar year in which the last known of the specified persons dies.

The specified persons are:

  • the principal director;
  • the author of the screenplay;
  • the author of the dialogue; and
  • the composer of music specially created for and used in the film.

Where the identity of none of the specified persons is known, copyright last for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the film was:

  • made; or
  • made available to the public (where the work is made available to the public during that period).

Making available to the public includes showing the film in public or communicating it to the public.

For films where none of the specified persons exists, copyright expires 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the film was made.

Broadcasts

Copyright in broadcasts lasts for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the broadcast was made.

Typographical arrangement of published editions

Copyright lasts for 25 years from the end of the calendar year in which the edition was first published.

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