Calculating the copyright term for a given work can be complicated because copyright legislation changes over time. One important change came into effect on 1 January 2005 . The significance of this change is described below.
As of 1 January 2019 copyright terms apply to unpublished works based on whether or not they have been made public ( before or after that date).
The 70-year copyright terms above came into effect on 1 January 2005 when the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) amendments were made to the Act. The previous terms were generally 50 years and the 2005 changes were not applied retrospectively or to government publications.
To calculate the copyright status of older published works, find out if the period of copyright protection had expired by 1 January 2005.
For example, if an author died prior to 1 January 1955, works published during his or her lifetime are now out of copyright because the old 50 year period of copyright protection had elapsed by 1 January 2005.
Once copyright expires, there are no longer any copyright-related restrictions on its copying or re-use. This is sometimes referred to as 'being in the public domain'.
That said, the State Library may restrict certain uses of public domain materials for other reasons, such as donor restrictions, Indigenous cultural concerns or fragility.