Duration of Copyright

Duration of Copyright Registration

The duration of Copyright varies depending upon the type of Work, as well as when it was created or registered.  A Work that was created on or after January 1, 1978 is protected from the time it is created, usually for the author’s life plus 70 years.  For “a joint Work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire,” the term is for 70 years after the death of the last surviving author.

The Copyright term for Works created and published or registered before January 1, 1978 is the same as for those created on or after January 1, 1978, namely, life of the author plus 70 years. For Works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous Works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of Copyright is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

For Works originally created before January 1, 1978 that were not published or registered by that date, their duration is generally computed in the same way as Works created on or after January 1, 1978, i.e., life­ of the author plus­ 70 or 95/120 year terms, respectively.

The Copyright term for Works made for hire and anonymous and pseudonymous Works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records) is either 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

The 95/120 year terms for Works for hire apply to pre January 1, 1978 Works. However, the term of Copyright for these Works cannot expire before December 31, 2002. For Works published on or before December 31, 2002, the term will not expire before December 31, 2047.

 

 

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