From 1 January 2019, new terms of copyright protection will apply to creative works, dependent upon whether the material has been made public before or after 1 January 2019.

5 December 2017

If you’re an artist, author, musician or filmmaker, these changes could affect you.

Importantly, the new copyright terms will apply to existing works, sound recordings and films that are not published (or otherwise made public) as at 1 January 2019. If made public before that time the current duration provisions will apply, which may be longer in some circumstances.

Why are these changes being introduced?

Libraries, archives and many other organisations hold large numbers of unpublished materials which are an important part of Australia’s cultural heritage.

Setting a term of protection for unpublished materials will allow greater access to these materials and protect them for future generations.

What are the new copyright terms?

The changes simplify the copyright terms of unpublished and published materials:

  • For works (including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works) - the standard term will be 70 years after the death of the author of the work.
  • For works where the author is unknown – the standard term will be 70 years after the making of the work unless the work is made public within 50 years of its making, in which case the term will be 70 years after first being made public.
  • For sound recordings and films the standard term will be 70 years after the making of the sound recording or film unless the material is made public within 50 years of its making, in which case the term will be 70 years after first being made public.
  • For Crown copyright material (where the Commonwealth or a State or Territory is the copyright owner) - the standard term will be 50 years after the making of the material.

An infographic outlining the new copyright protection terms that will apply from 1 July 2019.

Who can I talk to about these changes?

  • Email: copyright [at] communications.gov.au

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