State Library of South Australia

How long does copyright last? (Table 1)

This table outlines some of the key rules contained in the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968 regarding the term of copyright.

Type of work

 

Publication status

 

Duration

 

Notes

 

General rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literary, dramatic and musical works such as books, newspapers, journals, letters, diaries, manuscripts, plays and sheet music.

Engravings

 

Published during the life of the author.

 

70 years after the end of the year in which the author died.

 

For full details, see subsections 33(2), 33(3) and 33(5) of the Copyright Act 1968.

 

Published after the death of the author.

 

70 years after the end of the year in which publication first took place.

 

 

 

Has not been published.

 

Until publication occurs, protection is indefinite.

 

 

 

Artistic works such as photographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures - but not engravings

 

Irrelevant.

 

70 years after the end of the year in which the creator died.

 

See subsection 33(2).

 

Sound recordings and films

 

Published.

 

70 years after the end of the year in which publication first took place.

 

See sections 93 and 94.

 

Unpublished.

 

Until publication occurs, protection is indefinite.

 

Sound and television broadcasts

 

Irrelevant.

 

50 years after the year in which the broadcast was made.

 

See section 95.

 

Published editions

 

Published.

 

25 years from the end of year in which the edition was published.

 

See section 96.

 

Special rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works that are anonymous or pseudonymous

 

Published.

 

70 years after the end of the year in which the work was first published.

 

See section 34.

 

Unpublished.

 

Until publication takes place, effectively indefinite.

 

Works of joint authorship

 

Not applicable.

 

Apply the rules in section 33 of the Copyright Act, but calculations should use the year of death of the author who died last.

 

See section 80.

 

Works made by or under the direction or control of the Commonwealth or a State (Crown copyright)

 

Published and unpublished.

 

Apply the relevant provisions from Part VII of the Copyright Act.

 

See sections 180 and 181.

 

Pre-commencement works: those published or made prior to 1 May 1969

 

Published and unpublished.

 

The usual rules in relation to subsistence and duration of copyright may be altered by the transitional provisions in Part XI of the Copyright Act.

 

See Part XI of the Copyright Act. You may need to consider provisions that have been repealed (e.g. sections 212 and 220(3)).

 



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