Last updated 8 August 2016

The period of copyright protection depends on the type of subject matter. The term of copyright protection of a literary, dramatic, artistic and musical work is life of the author plus 70 years, or if the author dies before the work is published, performed in public, broadcast or sold in record from, 70 years from whichever of those events happens first (ss 33(2), 33(3), 33(5) Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Copyright Act)). In the case of other subject matter, the period of copyright protection varies:

  • film and sound recordings—usually 70 years from the year of publication (ss 93–94)
  • broadcasts—usually 50 years from the year of making (s 95)
  • published editions—usually 25 years from the date of publication (s 96).

The calculation of the relevant period is from the end of the calendar year in which the work was recorded, broadcasted or published. Once copyright in a work has expired, it cannot be renewed and it is in the public domain. This means that it is open for anyone to use the material without infringing copyright.