Length of copyright
How long does copyright last?
Currently, under Australian law, if the creator of the copyright item has been dead for more than 70 years and the item was published within their lifetime, the work generally passes into the public domain (i.e. life plus 70 years). If the work was not published in their lifetime, the copyright period commences from the date of publication.
NOTE: Changes were made to the duration of copyright due to the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA). As a result of the AUSFTA, the period of protection was extended from 50 years to 70 years for material that was still under copyright as at 1st January 2005. Copyright was not revived in works where copyright had already expired. If you have any queries, contact the Copyright Office.
Copyright in a work cannot be revived once it has lapsed, regardless of copyright ownership. It should be remembered, however, that copyright laws differ between countries, and what may be out of copyright (or in the public domain) in Australia may still be covered by copyright provisions in other countries.
Also be aware that that other rights may exist in the form of published editions, translations, adaptations of works, and new recordings or arrangements of musical works. Please contact the Copyright Officer if you are unsure of the status of the material you wish to use.
|TYPE OF MATERIAL||COPYRIGHT HAS EXPIRED IF||OTHERWISE DURATION IS|
|Literary, dramatic and musical works published, performed or broadcast during the author's lifetime||Creator died before 1 January 1955 or, for works NOT made public during the creator's lifetime, the work was made public before 1 January 1955||Life of the creator, plus 70 years from the end of the year of the creator's death. Or, for works NOT made public during the creators lifetime, 70 years from the time first made public|
|Artistic works (other than photographs and engravings unpublished in the author's lifetime)||Creator died before 1 January 1955|
|Engravings||First published before 1 January 1955, or, if published during the engraver's lifetime, the engraver died before 1 January 1955||Life of the engraver, plus 70 years from the end of the year of the engraver's death. Or, for works NOT made public during the engraver's lifetime, 70 years after the end of the year first made public|
|Literary, dramatic and music works not published, performed or broadcast during the author's lifetime||Made public before 1 January 1955||70 years after the end of the year of first publication, performance or broadcast|
|Works or photos first published anonymously or under a pseudonym||First published or taken before 1 January 1955||70 years from the end of the year first published|
|Photographs taken before May 1969||Taken before 1 January 1955||70 years from the end of the year of the author's death|
|Photographs from May 1969||None out of copyright||70 years from the end of the year of the author's death|
|Sound recordings||Made before 1 January 1955||70 years from the end of the year first published|
|Cinematograph films made after 1 May 1969||70 years from the end of the year of the year first published|
|Television and sound broadcasts||Broadcasts made prior to 1 May 1969 are not protected||50 years from end of the year of first broadcast|
|Literary, dramatic and musical works and engravings made for, or first published by, a government, or in which copyright is owned by a government||50 years from the end of the year first published|
|Artistic works (except photographs and engravings) made for, or first published by, a government, or in which copyright is owned by a government||50 years from the end of the year first published|
|Photographs and engravings made for, or first published, by a government, or in which copyright is owned by a government
|50 years from year first made, or, if made on or after 1 May 1969, year first published plus 50 years|
|Performances||25 years from performance|
|Typographical arrangement of a work in a published edition||25 years from publication|
|Overseas material||The period which applies in the country where the work was made or first published|