home ›› copyright guidelines ›› Copyright - a general overview ›› 1.7 How long does it last?

1.7 How long does it last?

| Back to Table of Contents |

Copyright protection applies for a finite period of time. This period varies, depending on the type of subject matter and when it was created.

From 1 January 2005, the period of copyright protection for most works increased. This period of protection will apply to all works that were still in copyright on 1 January 2005 and those works that were created after 1 January 2005. To determine if a work was in copyright on 1 January 2005, you will need to apply the pre-1 January 2005 copyright periods.

The tables below set out the current and pre-1 January 2005 term of copyright protection.

Current term of copyright protection

  1. Works 
    Types of Copyright Material Current Term
    Literary Works Lifetime of author plus 70 years
    Artistic works (except photographs) Lifetime of author plus 70 years
    Dramatic works Lifetime of author plus 70 years
    Musical works Lifetime of author plus 70 years


  2. Works-Exceptions
    Types of Copyright Material Current Term
    Photographs Lifetime of author plus 70 years
    Unpublished literary (other than computer programs) or dramatic works 70 years from end of year work first published (whenever that may be)
    Unpublished engravings 70 years from end of year work first published (whenever that may be)
    Pseudonyms and anonymous names 70 years from end of year work first published


  3. Subject matter other than works 
    Types of Copyright Material Current Term
    Sound recording and films 70 years from end of year material first broadcast, exhibited or published
    Published Editions 25 years from end of year work first published

    Back to top

    Pre-1 January 2005 term of copyright protection (use this table to determine if a work was still in copyright on 1 January 2005)

  4. Works
    Types of Copyright Material Previous Term
    Literary Works Lifetime of author plus 50 years
    Artistic works (except photographs) Lifetime of author plus 50 years
    Dramatic works Lifetime of author plus 50 years
    Musical works Lifetime of author plus 50 years


  5. Works-Exceptions
    Types of Copyright Material Previous Term
    Photographs 50 years from end of year photograph taken
    unpublished photographs 50 years from end of year work first published (whenever that may be)
    anonymous works 50 years from end of year work first published


  6. Subject matter other than works
    Types of Copyright Material Previous Term
    Films 50 years from end of year film first released
    Sound Recordings 50 years from end of year recording first released
    Published editions 25 years from end of year work first published

Back to top

| Back to Table of Contents |