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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

IP FAQ - How long does copyright protection last?

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Copyright protection duration varies depending on the country and the type of work. In general, copyright protection lasts for the lifetime of the author or creator plus a certain number of years. After the expiration of the copyright term, the work enters the public domain, where it can be freely used by anyone without permission.

Here are the general copyright terms in the United States and some other countries:

United States

· For works created on or after January 1, 1978: Copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. If the work is a joint work with multiple authors, the copyright term extends to the life of the last surviving author plus 70 years.

· For works made for hire and anonymous works: Copyright protection lasts for 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

European Union

· In most EU countries, copyright protection generally lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, similar to the United States.


· Copyright protection in Canada lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years.


· Copyright protection in Australia lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Please note that these copyright terms are subject to change due to legislative updates or international agreements. Additionally, some countries may have different copyright terms for certain types of works or for works created before specific dates.

For works created before current copyright laws were established, different rules may apply, and it's essential to consult the copyright laws of the specific country in question.

As always, it's advisable to verify the copyright duration with the relevant copyright office or consult with an intellectual property attorney for specific and up-to-date information on copyright protection duration.


IP FAQs are provided by attorney David Baker and the Law Office of David Christopher Baker solely on an informational, educational, and entertainment basis only. They are not intended to be and should not be considered or relied upon as specific legal advice. Likewise, no attorney-client relationship is created by virtue of anyone reading them. Should you have a legal question or should you need specific legal advice, then you should consult a local attorney with proper education, training, and experience int eh type of law for which you require advice and representation.

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