How long does copyright last?

How long copyright lasts depends on which country you are in. In general terms, with the exception of performers’ performances, sound recordings and broadcast signals, the term of copyright lasts for the life of the author and a period of 50 years from the end of the year in which the author died. For a sound recording and a broadcast signal the term is 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording was made or the signal was broadcast. For sound recordings published before that 50 year period expires, the term is extended to the end of the year 50 years after publication. Once the term of copyright has expired a work becomes part of the public domain and the work can be used, e.g., reproduced or communicated, without permission. In Canada, copyright generally lasts for the life of the author, plus 50 years. By contrast, in the U.S. and Europe, copyright generally lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, though it can differ depending on factors such as the type of work, the manner of publication and the date of creation. Generally, use of a work in Canada is governed by the Canadian rules for the duration of copyright protection.

Once the term of copyright has expired a work becomes part of the public domain and the work can be used, e.g., reproduced or communicated, without permission.

All Copyright Basics

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