Length of time copyright lasts for

How long does copyright last for?

Answer ID 699 | Last updated on 17/01/2023 04.41 PM

Copyright does not last forever and different rules apply to different types of work. Generally, material can be used without seeking permission once the copyright has expired.

The table below is a guide to some duration rules and applies to works made before 1 January 2019. For works made after 1 January 2019, and for more detailed information on copyright duration, see the Australian Copyright Council's information sheet on the Duration of Copyright.

 Type of Work  Duration
 General rule for published works  Life of author + 70 years
 Film & sound recordings  Year first published + 70 years
 Published editions  Year first published + 25 years
 Broadcast  Year first broadcast + 50 years
 Artwork or photos  Life of author + 70 years
 Crown copyright  Year first published or made + 50 years
 Unpublished  Life of author + 70 years

In Australia, there is no register of copyright material and no list of what material is in the “public domain” (i.e. out of copyright). Sometimes you will need to do some detective work to determine whether something is still protected by copyright.  

If you're unsure of the copyright status of a work that you'd like to you, please contact the University Library for assistance.

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