Duration of copyright varies according to the type of material covered. See the table below for a summary of these durations in UK Law.
Duration of Copyright by Material Type
Literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works
Examples of Work:
- Written works like stories, plays, essays or poems
- Dances or mines.
- Musical works.
- Graphic works, like paintings and drawings, etchings, engravings.
- Photographs and sculptures.
- Works of architecture
- Works of artistic craftsmanship.
From date of the creation of the work until 70 years following the authors.
A sound recording is the recording or fixation of sound. It may be a recording of the whole, or part of, a literary, musical or dramatic work.
Copyright in a sound recording applies separately from the copyright and the term of protection for works or performances which are included in the sound recording.
50 years from the year in which the sound recording was made.
If during that period the sound recording is published or made available to the public (e.g. by being played in public or broadcast), copyright lasts for 70 years from that year.
A broadcast is the electronic transmission of visual images, sounds or other information for the simultaneous reception by members of the public, such as television shows.
Copyright in a broadcast applies separately from the copyright and the term of protection for works or performances which are included in the broadcast.
50 years from the year in which the broadcast was made.
A film is any recording onto a medium from which a moving image can be produced.
Copyright in a film applies separately from the copyright and the term of protection for works or performances which are included in the film.
70 years after the death of the last surviving author, director, writer, or composer. If the identity of these persons is unknown then the term is 70 years from creation, or if released to the public, 70 years from being made available.
Examples of Work
Films that have no director, author of screenplay, author of dialogue and music composer e.g. mere fixations like CCTV.
50 years from the year of creation.
A typographical arrangement refers to the way a published edition is visually laid out e.g. columns of text on the page, where illustrations are inserted etc...
25 years from the year of first publication.
A performance may be:
- A musical performance
- A reading or recitation of a literary work
- A performance of a play, a variety act or similar.
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