From 1 January 2019, new copyright terms will apply works, sound recordings and films, dependent upon whether the material has been made public before or after 1 January 2019.

5 December 2017

Why are these changes being introduced?

The changes have been introduced as part of the Government’s Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill which improves access to copyright materials for the disability, education, library and archive sectors.

Libraries, archives and other cultural institutions hold large amounts of unpublished material. These changes will simplify copyright terms and support greater access to, and sharing of, unpublished materials.

What does this mean for me?

If you have unpublished copyright material, you may want to consider making your work public before 1 January 2019 to be protected under the current copyright duration provisions, which may be longer in some circumstances.

What are the new copyright terms?

  • 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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