How long does copyright last in Australia?

As with other aspects of copyright, duration of copyright varies between countries. If you want to use material published in other countries Wikipedia's List of countries' copyright lengths table provides a good starting point.

In Australia, copyright in published works generally lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. The duration of copyright in subject matter other than works (films and sound recordings for example) is more variable, but generally is 70 years from the end of the year of first publication. There are variations from these general rules. Before 1 January 2005, the term of copyright in Australia was life of the author plus 50 years for published works, and 50 years after publication for audiovisual items. The extended term of 70 years applies only to material that was still in copyright on 1 January 2005. If the copyright had expired by that date, it stays expired. In Australia, copyright in unpublished material is perpetual.

In the table below, Crown Copyright refers to material made or first published by state, territory or commonwealth government.

Work or Subject Matter Out of copyright on 1 Jan 2005 Duration - if copyright subsists on 1 Jan 2005 or later

Literary, Dramatic, Musical, or Artistic works (other than photographs).

If author died before 1 January 1955

70 years after the end of the year of the author's death

Literary, Dramatic or Musical works which had not been published, performed in public or broadcast, and records of which had not been offered for sale to the public, before the death of the author.

If made public before 1 January 1955

70 years after the end of the year of first publication, public performance, broadcast, etc (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Engravings which are unpublished at the time of the author's death.

If made public before 1 January 1955

70 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Photographs taken before May 1969

If taken before 1 January 1955

70 years after the end of the year of the photographer's death

Photographs taken from May 1969 onwards.

None out of copyright by 1 January 2005

70 years after the end of the year of the photographer's death

Sound Recordings made before May 1969.

If made before 1 January 1955

70 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Sound Recordings made from May 1969 onwards.

None out of copyright by 1 January 2005

70 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Cinematograph Films made from May 1969 onwards

None out of copyright by 1 January 2005

70 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Television and Sound Broadcasts made from May 1969 onwards

None out of copyright by 1 January 2005

50 years after the end of the year in which the broadcast was made.

Published Editions

If first published before 1 January 1970

25 years after the end of the year of first publication.

Anonymous or Pseudonymous Works

If first published before 1 January 1955

70 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Where there is more than one author

 

The relevant year of death is that of the last author to die.

Crown Copyright - Literary, Dramatic, Musical Works

If first published before 1 January 1955

50 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Crown Copyright - Artistic Works except photographs and engravings

If made before 1 January 1955

50 years after the end of the year in which the work was made

Crown Copyright - Photographs and Engravings made before 1 May 1969

If made before 1 January 1955

50 years after the end of the year in which the work was made

Crown Copyright - Photographs and Engravings made from May 1969 onwards

None out of copyright by 1 January 2005

50 years after the end of the year of first publication (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Crown Copyright - Sound Recordings made before May 1969

If made before 1 January 1955

50 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Crown Copyright - Sound Recordings made from May 1969 onwards

None out of copyright by 1 January 2005

50 years after the end of the year of first publication. (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)

Crown Copyright - Cinematograph Films made from May 1969 onwards

None out of copyright by 1 January 2005

50 years after the end of the year of first publication (i.e. copyright can be perpetual)