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Copyright Length by Country 2024

A copyright is a crucial part of the global protection of intellectual and creative property. A creator’s copyright allows them to retain all the rights to their own work under the law.

However, there are limits to how long a copyright lasts, and those limits can vary greatly from one country to the next. The following is an overview of how copyright lengths differ around the world as of 2023.

Countries with the Longest Copyright Duration

In most cases, copyrights last the entire life of a creator plus a set number of additional years, with the most common examples lasting the life of the author plus 50–70 years. The following are some of the countries with the longest-lasting copyrights:

  • Mexico: As of 2023, Mexico is the country with the longest-lasting copyrights. Mexican copyrights last the creator’s entire life plus an additional 100 years but are non-extendable past that duration.
  • Spain: In Spain, copyrights last the life of the creator plus 80 years.
  • Guatemala: In Guatemala, copyrights last the life of the creator plus 75 years.
  • United States: In the U.S., copyrights for works created after January 1, 1928, last the life of the creator plus 70 years. (Works created before that date lost their copyright protection in 2023.)
  • Australia: Australian copyrights last the life of the creator plus 70 years.
  • Japan: Japanese copyrights last the life of the creator plus 50 years.

In most cases, copyrights attached to joint works last the length of the life of the last author to pass on plus an additional 70 years.

Factors That May Influence Copyright Duration

Many countries around the world choose to coordinate their own copyright durations to international standard setters like the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention lays out the official minimum acceptable standards for copyright worldwide.

Other factors may come into play, as well. Examples include the following.

Cultural Factors

A country’s economic status and cultural values can influence copyright length, with wealthier nations sometimes choosing to lengthen or extend copyrights for the sake of their economies. In some countries, emerging technology and the ubiquity of digital media spark additional discussion about how long copyrights should last and whether approaches should be adapted. Individual countries may have differing opinions as to whether creators’ exclusive rights should trump the benefits of granting public access to certain works and to what extent.

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Country
Copyright Length Based on Authors Death
Copyright Length Based on Publication Date
AfghanistanLife + 50 years50 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work), | 50 years from publication (published after authors' deaths), | 50 years from publication (audiovisual works), | 50 years from publication (photographic, painting works), | 50 years from creation (phonogram)
AlbaniaLife + 70 years70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work, | 70 years from publication; 70 years from creation if unpublished (photographic or audiovisual work of joint authorship), | 25 years from production (works of applied art)
AlgeriaLife + 50 years (except posthumous work)50 years from publication; 50 years from creation if unpublished (collective work, anonymous or pseudonymous work, audiovisual work, posthumous work), | 50 years from creation (photographs or the work of applied art)
AndorraLife + 70 years70 years from publication; 70 years from creation if unpublished (collective work with unknown authorship) | 70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work)
AngolaLife + 50 years, | Life + 25 years (photographic works or applied arts)
AnguillaLife + 50 years50 years from the death of the author, of the last surviving author for works with more than one author
Antigua and BarbudaLife + 50 years50 years from publication; 50 years from creation if unpublished (anonymous or pseudonymous work, computer generated work, sound recording or film) | 50 years from creation (broadcast); 50 years after programme included in a cable programme service | 25 years from publication (typographical arrangement of a published edition)
ArgentinaLife + 70 years50 years from publication (anonymous intellectual works belonging to institutions, corporations or legal persons) | Phonograms: 70 years from first publication | Photographs: 20 years from first publication | Cinematographic works: 50 years after death of the last survivor among the producer, the director, the screenplay writer or the composer (for musical comedies)
ArmeniaLife + 70 years70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous works)
ArubaLife + 50 years
AustraliaLife + 70 years70 years from publication (sound recordings, cinematograph films) | 50 years after making (television broadcasts and sound broadcasts) | 25 years from publication (published editions of works) | 50 years from publication (photographs, no longer applicable since 1 January 2005)
AustriaLife + 70 years70 years from publication; 70 years from creation if unpublished (anonymous or pseudonymous work)
AzerbaijanLife + 70 years (except posthumous work published at first time during 30 years)70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work; posthumous work published at first time during 30 years)
BahamasAt least 50 years after the author's death
BahrainLife + 50 calendar years (except posthumous work)50 calendar years from publication (cinematographic films, applied arts works and photographs; anonymous or pseudonymous works; corporate works; posthumous works) | 40 years from publication or 50 years from completion, whichever is earlier (computer software)
BangladeshLife + 60 years or Publication + 60 years60 years from publication (cinematographic films, sound recordings, photographs, computer programmes, works of the Government, local authority or an international organisation
BarbadosLife + 50 years50 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous works) | 50 years from making (computer-generated work) | 50 years from publication; 50 years from creation if unpublished (sound recordings and films) | 50 years from creation (broadcast); 50 years after programme included in a cable programme service | 25 years from publication (typographical arrangement of a published edition)
BelarusLife + 50 years50 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from creation (anonymous or pseudonymous works) | 50 years from fixation (performance) | 50 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from fixation (phonogram) | 50 years from the first broadcast or cable transmission
BelgiumLife + 70 years
BelizeLife + 50 years50 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work) | 50 years from publication (sound recording or film) | 50 years from publication (computer-generated work)
BeninLife + 50 years
BermudaLife + 50 years
BhutanLife + 50 years
BoliviaLife + 50 years
Bosnia and HerzegovinaLife + 70 years
BrazilLife + 70 yearsEconomical rights | Publication+70 years(audiovisual and photograpical works) | Publication+70 years (anonymous and pseudonymous works) | Neighboring rights | Creation+70 years(phonograms,transmission for the broadcasts of broadcasting organization, and public performance in other cases.) | Publication+50 years,if unpublished creation+50 years(computer programs)
British Virgin IslandsLife + 70 Years
BruneiLife + 50 years
BulgariaLife + 70 years (EU)
Burkina FasoLife + 70 years
BurundiLife + 50 years50 years from publication (phonograms)
CambodiaLife + 50 years
CameroonLife + 50 years
CanadaLife + 70 years (except certain posthumous works), | Life + 50 years (death before 1972)75 years from publication or 100 years from creation, whichever is shorter (anonymous works). There is no revival of copyright in any work in which the copyright had expired before the coming into force in January 2023 of the extension of the term of copyright from 50 to 70 years | 50 years from publication (certain posthumous works)
Cape VerdeLife + 50 years
Central African RepublicBerne, TRIPS
ChadBerne, TRIPS
ChileLife + 70 years
ChinaLife + 50 years (citizens' works)50 years from publication, or if unpublished, 50 years from creation (works of legal entities, cinematographic works, films or photographic works)
ColombiaLife + 80 years80 years from publication (cinematographic works)
Costa RicaLife + 70 years
CroatiaLife + 70 years
CubaLife + 50 years
CyprusLife + 70 years (EU, WCT)
Czech RepublicLife + 70 years70 years from publication (anonymous works)
DenmarkLife + 70 years
DjiboutiLife + 50 yearsFor a cinematographic work, 50 years from the date when the work was made lawfully accessible to the public with the author's consent | For a photographic work or work of applied art, 25 years from the production of the work
DominicaLife + 70 years
Dominican RepublicLife + 70 years
DR CongoLife + 50 years25 years from publication (photograph works) | 50 years from publication (anonymous, pseudonymous or posthumous work)
EcuadorLife + 70 years
EgyptLife + 50 years
El SalvadorLife + 50 years
Equatorial GuineaLife + 80 years (but additional expiration rules in Article 38 of the Main Equatorial Guinea Intellectual Property Law may affect this)
EritreaLife + 0 years but at least 50 years since publication, whichever is longer (except posthumous works)50 years since publication (posthumous works)
EstoniaLife + 70 years (EU)70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous works)
EthiopiaLife + 50 years
FijiLife + 50 years
FinlandLife + 70 years50 years from publication (sound recordings, television broadcasts and sound broadcasts) | 50 years from creation (photographic works)
FranceLife + 70 years (except posthumous works published after this term) | + 6 years 152 days for musical work published through 1920 | + 8 years and 120 days for musical work published through 1947 | + 30 years for all works if the author died on active service70 years from publication (pseudonymous, anonymous or collective works) | 25 years from publication (posthumous works published after Art. L123-1 term)
GabonBerne, TRIPS, WCT
GambiaLife + 50 years
GeorgiaLife + 70 years
GermanyLife + 70 years25 years from first publication or first public performance if copyright has expired before such publication or performance, or if the work has never been protected in Germany and the author died more than 70 years before the first publication
GhanaLife + 70 years
GreeceLife + 70 years70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous works)
GreenlandBerne, TRIPS
GuatemalaLife + 75 years75 years from publication or if unpublished 75 years from creation (computer programs and collective works; anonymous or pseudonymous works; audiovisual works)
GuineaTRIPS, WCT
Guinea BissauBerne, TRIPS
GuyanaLife + 50 years
HaitiBerne, TRIPS
HondurasLife + 75 years
Hong KongLife + 50 years50 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from creation (literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works with unknown authorship) | 50 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from creation (sound recordings) | 50 years from creation (broadcast); 50 years after programme included in a cable programme service | 25 years from publication (typographical arrangement of published editions)
HungaryLife + 70 years, | If there are multiple authors, life of last surviving author + 70 years70 years and shall be counted from the first day of the year following the first disclosure of the work in case the person of the author is unknown. However, should the author become known during this period of time, the term of protection shall be counted from the first day of the year following the death of the author | 70 years counted from the first day of the year following the first disclosure of a collective work or a cinematographic creation | 25 years from the first day of the year following the first disclosure if copyright protection of a scope consistent with the author's economic rights shall be due to the person who, following the expiration of the term of protection or the period of time determined in the term of protection shall be counted from a date other than the first day of the year following the death of the author, the author dying last, or the joint author, discloses according to the law a work previously not disclosed to the public |
IcelandLife + 70 years
IndiaLife + 60 years (except posthumous works)60 years from publication (posthumous works, photographs, cinematograph films, sound recordings, works of public undertakings, and works of international organisations)
IndonesiaLife + 70 years70 years from the author's death for books, musics, etc. | 50 years after publication for cinematography, photograph, etc
IranLife + 50 years30 years from publication (photographic or cinematographic works)
IraqLife + 50 years5 years from publication (photographic works)
IrelandLife + 70 years
IsraelLife + 70 years50 years from publication (photographs created until May 2007)
ItalyLife + 70 years70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work) | 20 years from publication (copyright of State, the provinces, the communes, the academies or public cultural organizations, or to private legal entities of a non-profit making character)
Ivory CoastLife + 70 years (except posthumous works published within this period)70 years from publication (photographic or audiovisual works or works of applied art; anonymous or pseudonymous works; posthumous works)
JamaicaLife + 95 years (for authors that died in 1962 or later) | Life + 50 years (for authors that died before 1962) |95 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work, work for hire | 95 years from creation (computer-generated work, broadcast, cable programme) | 95 years from publication or if unpublished 95 years from creation (sound recording or film) | 50 years from publication (typographical arrangement of a published edition)
JapanLife + 70 years70 years from publication, or if unpublished, 70 years from creation (cinematographic works) | 70 years from publication, or if unpublished, 70 years from creation (works of a legal person or other corporate body)
JordanLife + 50 years
KazakhstanLife + 50 years
KenyaLife + 50 years (literary, musical or artistic work other than photographs)50 years from the latest of creation or publication (audio-visual works and photographs)
KiribatiLife + 50 years
KuwaitTRIP
KyrgyzstanLife + 50 years
LaosLife + 50 years50 years after making available. Also: | • Anonymous/pseudonymous work: 50 years from the date the work was made available to the public | • Cinematographic work: 50 years from making available, failing that, 50 years from making | • Applied art: 25 years from date of creation | Related: Performances, phonograms, broadcasts: 50 years since the date of performance, fixation, and broadcast, respectively
LatviaLife + 70 years70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work)
LebanonLife + 50 years50 years after lawful publication; failing publication, 50 years after work completion. Also: | • economic rights: 50 years from performance | • moral rights: perpetual | • broadcasters' rights: 20 years after first broadcasting |
LesothoLife + 50 years
LiberiaLife + 50 years
LibyaLife + 25 years with 50-year minimum (as of 1968; may have changed since)
LithuaniaLife + 70 years
LuxembourgLife + 70 years
MacauLife + 50 years50 years from publication (anonymous works) | 50 years from publication (audiovisual works) | 25 years from completion (works of applied art)
MadagascarLife + 70 years
MalawiLife + 50 years
MalaysiaLife + 50 years (literary, musical and artistic works, not posthumous)50 years after publication (posthumous work, published edition, film, live performance) | 50 years after publication or if unpublished 50 years from creation (anonymous, pseudonymous work, sound recording, broadcast, film) | 50 years after being made (broadcast)
MaldivesLife + 50 years
MaliLife + 50 years
MaltaLife + 70 years
Marshall Islands0, no copyright
MauritaniaBerne, TRIPS
MauritiusLife + 50 years
MexicoLife + 100 years (effective 23 July 2003 non-retroactively)75 years from the first fixation of the recording or the first performance/recording of the performance, respectively | 50 years from first publication of the book, the first fixation of the recording, or the first broadcast.
MicronesiaLife + 50 years
MoldovaLife + 50 years
MonacoLife + 50 years50 years from publication (photographs) | 50 years from creation (Sound recordings) | 50 years from publication (cinematograph films, broadcasts)
MongoliaLife + 50 years
MontenegroLife + 70 years
MoroccoLife + 50 years70 years after a work's lawful publication; if no lawful publication has taken place within 50 years of the making, copyright lasts for 70 years after the work's communication to the public; if no lawful communication to the public has taken place within 50 years of the making, copyright lasts for 70 years after the work is made | 70 years for Performers' rights, if no lawful publication has taken place within 50 years of the performance, copyright lasts for 70 years after the work's first performance | 70 years for Broadcasters' rights: if no lawful publication has taken place within 50 years of the work's creation, copyright lasts for 70 years after the work's creation
MozambiqueLife + 70 years
MyanmarTRIPS
NamibiaLife + 50 years (except posthumous works)50 years from publication (posthumous works) | 50 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from creation (cinematograph films, photographs and computer programs)
NepalLife + 50 years25 years from creation (applied art and photographic work)
NetherlandsLife + 70 years70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work, corporate works with no listed natural author) | 25 years from publication (works first published more than 70 years after the death of the author)
New ZealandLife + 50 years (literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work)50 years from creation (computer-generated work)
NicaraguaLife + 70 years
NigerLife + 50 years
NigeriaLife + 70 years (literary, musical or artistic works other than photographs)70 years from publication (literary, musical or non-photograph artistic works in the case of government or a body corporate) | 50 years from publication (cinematograph films and photographs) | 50 years from publication (sound recordings) | 50 years from publication (broadcasts)
North KoreaLife + 50 yearsWorks authored by "an institution, enterprise or organization", 50 years from publication
North MacedoniaLife + 70 years
NorwayLife + 70 years, | Life + 15 years, but no less than 50 years after publication ("simple" photographs that are below the threshold of originality to merit copyright protection)70 years
OmanLife + 70 years90 years from the year following the publication | 120 years from the year following the completion
PakistanLife + 50 years
PalauLife + 50 years
PanamaLife + 70 years
Papua New GuineaLife + 50 years
ParaguayLife + 70 years
PeruLife + 70 years
PhilippinesLife + 50 years50 years from publication (photographic works), or 50 years from creation if unpublished within 50 years of creation
PolandLife + 70 years
PortugalLife + 70 years
QatarLife + 50 years
Republic of the CongoLife + 50 years25 years from creation (photographic work and work of applied art)
RomaniaLife + 70 years
RussiaLife + 70 years, | Life + 74 years (for those who fought in or worked during the war of 1941–45), | Date of rehabilitation + 70 (74) years (for unlawfully prosecuted and posthumously rehabilitated), | Protection applies if copyright term of Life + 50 years (or Life + 54 years) did not expire by 1 January 199350 years from publication (radio and television broadcasts) | 50 years from creation if unpublished, or 50 years from publication (sound records) | 70 years from publication (anonymous works) | 70 years from publication if published within 70 years from death (posthumous publication) | 70 years from publication if published before 3 August 1993 by a corporation (cinematographic, television, radio works, print periodicals and compilations). Protection term applies to "the whole work" only, i.e. individual authors of each protectable part of the whole work retain their own copyright | All works published prior to October Revolution (7 November 1917) are believed to be uncopyrighted
RwandaBerne, TRIPS
Saint Kitts and NevisLife + 50 years
Saint LuciaLife + 50 years
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesLife + 75 years (literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work)75 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from creation (sound recording or film) | 50 years from creation (computer-generated work) | 50 years from creation (broadcast); 50 years after programme included in a cable programme service
SamoaLife + 75 years
San MarinoLife + 50 years
Sao Tome and PrincipeLife + 70 years
Saudi ArabiaLife + 50 yearsThe period of copyright for the author of a work shall be for the duration of his life and for a period of fifty years following his death
SenegalLife + 70 years
SerbiaLife + 70 years
SeychellesLife + 50 years50 years from publication (audio-visual works) | 25 years from creation (applied art)
Sierra LeoneLife + 50 years50 years from publication (photograph, film, or broadcast) | 50 years from creation (sound recording)
SingaporeLife + 70 years (except posthumous work)70 years from publication (posthumous work, photograph | 70 years from publication (sound recordings and cinematograph films) | 50 years after making (television broadcasts, sound broadcasts, cable programmes) | 25 years from publication (published editions of works)
Sint MaartenLife + 50 years
SlovakiaLife + 50 years
SloveniaLife + 70 years[
Solomon IslandsLife + 50 years
South AfricaLife + 50 years (literary or musical works or artistic works, other than photographs)50 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from creation (cinematography films, photographs, computer programs) | 50 years from publication (sound recordings; broadcasts; programme-carrying signals; and published editions)
South KoreaLife + 70 years (amended on 2011-06-30)70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work) | 70 years from publication, or if unpublished within 50 years, 70 years from creation (works made for hire, cinematographic works)
SpainLife + 70 years (for authors that died on or after December 7,1987), | Life + 80 years (for authors that died before December 7, 1987)
Sri LankaLife + 70 years70 years from publication or if unpublished 50 years from completion (audiovisual work) | 25 years from publication (applied art)
SudanLife + 50 years25 years from publication (photographic pictures and cinematographic films and other audiovisual works; works published under unknown pseudonym or anonymously)
SurinameLife + 50 years50 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work)
SwedenLife + 70 years
SwitzerlandLife + 70 years effective 1 July 1993 non-retroactively, but Life + 50 years for computer programs, | Life + 50 years (before the law change on 1 July 1993, applicable for deaths through 1942)50 years after performance (performers' rights)
SyriaLife + 50 years10 years from production (photographic, fine arts or plastic arts)
TaiwanLife + 50 years (except posthumous works first published 40 to 50 years after death)50 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work) | 50 years from publication; 50 years from creation if unpublished (corporate works; photographic works, audiovisual works, sound recordings, and performances) | 10 years from publication (posthumous works first published 40 to 50 years after death)
TajikistanBerne
TanzaniaLife + 50 years
ThailandLife + 50 years50 years from publication or 50 years from creation if not published within 50 years from creation
Timor LesteLife + 50 years
TogoLife + 50 years
TongaLife + 50 years
Trinidad and TobagoLife + 50 years
TunisiaLife + 50 yearsAuthors' rights: | Economic rights: reproduction right; right of adaptation and translation; public performance right; broadcasting right; right of communication to the public by cable or satellite or any other means; right of communication of a broadcast work in a public place | Moral rights: right to claim authorship; right to object modification; right of disclosure; right of withdrawal | Performers' rights: The law contains no provisions regarding performers | Broadcasters' rights: The law contains no provisions regarding broadcasters
TurkeyLife + 70 years70 years from publication for work-for-hire
TurkmenistanLife + 50 years
UgandaLife + 50 years50 years from publication (corporate works, anonymous works, and computer programs)
UkraineLife + 70 years Life + 50 years (1994–2001)70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work) | 70 years from publication (published within 30 years from authors' deaths)
United Arab EmiratesLife + 50 years
United KingdomLife + 70 years, | If there are multiple authors, life of last surviving author + 70 years | For films, life + 70 years for the last to die of: principal director, author of screenplay, author of dialogue, or composer of music specifically created for and used in the film.70 years if the author is unknown | 70 years after release; if not released, 70 years after making (sound recordings). Recordings which entered the public domain prior to 1 January 2013 are not retroactively covered | 50 years from end of calendar year when the broadcast was first made (broadcasts)
United StatesLife + 70 years (works published since 1978 or unpublished works)95 years from publication or 120 years from creation whichever is shorter (anonymous works, pseudonymous works, or works made for hire, published since 1978) | 95 years from publication for works published 1964–1977; 28 (if copyright not renewed) or 95 years from publication for works published 1928–1963 (Copyrights prior to 1928 have expired, not including copyrights on sound recordings fixed prior to 15 February 1972, covered only under state laws.)
UruguayLife + 70 years70 years after the work is made available (anonymous and pseudonymous works) | 70 years from publication (collective works)
UzbekistanLife + 70 years
VanuatuLife + 50 years25 years after the work is made (works of applied art) | 50 years after the latest of: the date the work is made, the date the work is made available to the public or the date of first publication (works published anonymously or under a pseudonym, collective works and audiovisual works) | 50 years after the death of the last author to die (works of joint authorship)
Vatican CityLife + 70 years
VenezuelaLife + 60 years (except posthumous works)60 years from publication; 60 years from creation if unpublished (an audiovisual work, a broadcast work or a computer program) | 60 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work)
VietnamBerne
YemenLife + 30 years10 years from the date of issue from 1 January of the year of issue for photographs | 25 years from the date of production from 1 January of the production year for motion picture or television film | After expiry of copyright, the work "may be announced to be the ownership of the State" (emphasis added)
ZambiaLife + 50 years
ZimbabweLife + 50 years
showing: 194 rows

Which country has the longest copyright term?

Mexico is the country with the longest copyright term. The country's copyright lasts for the life of the artist plus 100 years.

Frequently Asked Questions