How long does copyright protection last?
Copyright protection for literary, dramatic, musical or artistic
work lasts for the life of the author and continues after the
author's death for 70 years from the end of the
calendar year in which the author died with the exception that
where such works are computer generated, the protection only lasts
for 50 years from the end of the year in which
they are made.
In this context, computer generated means works generated by a
computer in circumstances such that no human author was
responsible. For example, it does not cover works created using
word processing software, but is likely to cover systems for which
the user merely needs to hit "Start" to have the computer create
Copyright protection for a typographical arrangement of a
published edition expires 25 years from the end of
the calendar year in which the edition was first published.
For films, copyright expires 70 years from the
end of the calendar year in which the last to die of the principal
director, the author of the screenplay, the author of the dialogue,
and the composer of the music (created for and used in the film)
For sound recordings, copyright lasts for 50
years from the end of the calendar year in which it was
(1) made, (2) published or (3) made available for the public.
For broadcasts, copyright lasts for 50 years from
the end of the calendar year in which the broadcast was made.
Copyright in unpublished archives and manuscripts is complex and
the rights one has vary depending upon when the work in question
Secker, adapted for use at York St. John University