Copyright protection is a crucial aspect of the creative industry, ensuring that artists, writers, and creators have the right to control and benefit from their work. Here is a guideline on how long copyright protection lasts and the factors that influence its duration.
The Basics of Copyright Duration
Copyright protection is not forever. It has a finite lifespan, after which the work falls into the public domain, meaning anyone can freely use it. The duration of copyright protection depends on various factors, including the type of work and the circumstances of its creation.
Copyright Duration for Works Created Between 1909 and 1921
Works published between 1909 and 1921 fall under the protection of the Copyright Act of 1909. Under this law, works were initially granted a copyright term of 28 years from the date of publication. This term could be renewed for an additional 28 years, bringing the total potential term to 56 years. If the copyright was not renewed, it expired at the end of the first 28-year term.
Copyright Duration for Works Created Between 1922 and 1963
Works created and published or registered between 1922 and 1963 were initially granted a copyright term of 28 years from the date of publication or registration. If the copyright was renewed, which was required during the 28th year, the time could be extended for an additional 67 years.
Copyright Duration for Works Created Between 1964 and 1978
Works created between 1964 and 1978 are covered by the provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 and initially granted a copyright term of 28 years. The renewal requirement was abolished under this law, meaning that works created and published or registered during this period did not need to go through a renewal process. Instead, the copyright term was automatically extended for an additional 67 years.
Copyright Duration for Works Created on or After January 1, 1978
The copyright term for works created on or after January 1, 1978, depends on a few factors:
- For works created by a single individual, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.
- For works created by multiple authors, copyright lasts for the life of the last surviving author plus 70 years.
- In the case of works created by corporations, the copyright term is typically 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter. The same protection goes for anonymous or pseudonym works.
Copyright owners have the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and create derivative works based on their original creations. If someone uses a copyrighted work in any of the above-mentioned ways without obtaining proper authorization (e.g., a license or permission) from the copyright owner, it constitutes infringement. In some cases, even if a work is not an exact copy but bears a substantial similarity to a copyrighted work, it can still be considered infringement.
Copyright owners may send cease and desist letters to individuals or entities they believe are infringing on their rights, demanding them to stop using the copyrighted material. On digital platforms, copyright owners can issue Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices to have infringing content removed.
If you believe your copyright has been infringed or need help registering your creative works, speak to a trusted Los Angeles copyright lawyer today. They will fight tirelessly to ensure your work is protected.