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When Does Copyright Protection Expire?

hourglass for length of copyright protection

When you are creating a work, understanding the laws surrounding copyright is vital. However, these rules can be somewhat complex, so it’s essential to understand the basics of intellectual property laws. Whether you’re creating a work and want to know your rights or want to adapt someone else’s work, understanding how long a copyright will work is vital. If you’re wondering how long your copyright protection will last, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll discover why these works don’t last forever and how to register your work with the help of copyright infringement lawyers.

How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

For works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection will last for the life of the author plus seventy years. While this seems simple enough, there are other factors you must take into consideration. For example, if there are two authors, you must wait seventy years after both authors have passed away.

The law becomes a little more tricky when there are works created before 1978. If the work was created after 1923 but before 1978, they are protected for 95 years after the date of publication. In instances where the work is not published, it will adhere to the life of the author plus seventy years rule.

Similarly, if the work is published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the law differs. Depending on when it was published, the work is either protected for 120 or 95 years. However, it is easy as there is a database of works in the public domain.

As a general rule, any works published before 1923 no longer have copyright protection and are part of the public domain.

What Else Should I Know?

Once a work’s copyright expires, it is vital to understand what happens to it. This work will go into what’s known as the public domain. This is a space in which content is no longer owned by an author or artist, but they belong to the public. As a result, if someone wanted to use the work or republish it, they can do so without obtaining permission as no one can ever own the content.

It’s also important to understand that you do not need the copyright symbol on your work, though it can help indicate if a work is protected. As such, it is easier to hold those who infringe upon this protection liable, as there is a clear symbol showing it is protected.

When you have questions about copyright, you shouldn’t trust just anyone to help. Instead, you’ll want to rely on the attorneys from CopyCat Legal PLLC. Our dedicated legal team has the experience you need to help you copyright your work to protect it from those who may want to steal your content and pursue those who infringe on your rights.

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