Answered By: Jane Cooke
Last Updated: Sep 24, 2015     Views: 17

Copyright provides protection for a specific period of time. When that time elapses, the material is considered to be in the public domain.

  • Literary and artistic works - 70 years from the death of author. If several authors, 70 years following the death of last surviving author
  • Dramatic and musical work - 70 years from publication if no named author
  • Sound recordings - 50 years from the date of recording
  • Films - 70 years from the last death of: director, producer, author of screenplay, composer of soundtrack
  • Broadcasts - 50 years from the date of broadcast
  • Typographical layout - 25 years from publication
  • Crown Copyright - 50 years from publication. Unpublished works have a period of protection of 125 years from the end of the year in which the work was made
  • Unpublished works - 70 years from death of author

A separate protection of 25 years is given to a publisher’s copyright in the typographical arrangement of a work, even if the work itself is in the public domain. New editions of out-of-copyright material are also protected.

If you are uncertain if something is in the public domain, you should seek advice.

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