Copyright educationCopyright protection and duration Select a subject... All subjects Purpose of copyright Copyright protection and duration Copyright types and exceptions Copyright permissions International collective copyright licencing Copyright regulations in Europe International copyright treaties The Berne Convention provides that, at a minimum, copyright protection in all signatory countries should extend to “literary and artistic works”, including “every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression.” The detailed list of categories of works that are protected by copyright – and the specific definition and scope of each of them – may slightly vary from country to country, but it generally includes scientific articles, essays, novels, short stories, poems, plays and other literary works; drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures and other two- and three-dimensional pieces of art; films and other audiovisual works; musical compositions; software and others. One of the basic principles of the Berne Convention is that of “automatic protection”, which means that copyright protection exists automatically from the time a qualifying work is fixed in a tangible medium (such as paper, film or a silicon chip). When copyright protection beginsA “qualifying work” is a literary a musical composition a film, a software program a painting or any of many other expressions of creative ideas – but it is only the expression, and not the idea, that is protected by copyright law. Neither publication, registration, nor other action is required to secure a copyright, although in some countries use of a copyright notice is recommended, and in a few countries (including the United States) registration of domestic works is required in order to sue for infringement. Duration of copyright The duration of copyright may vary from country to country according to the type of work (and the particular right in question). Although Berne sets a minimum duration of a copyright in a literary work equal to the life of the author plus 50 years, in most cases and countries today, the general rule is that copyright in literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works lasts for the life of the author and then until 31 December of the year 70 years after his or her death (usually referred to as “life plus 70”). In some countries, specific rules may apply that alter or add to the general rule of life plus 70 years (for example, granting extensions for the period of World War II). In addition, some countries had different copyright terms that were in effect before adoption of the general rule. For example, the United States did not adopt a “life plus” copyright duration until 1978. These differences in national laws imply the fact that in some cases a specific work can still be in copyright in some countries but out of copyright (that is, in the public domain) in others. Learn more Copyright policy by country Copyright law, however, can vary from country to country, which can make copyright difficult to navigate. our resources helps to navigate copyright basics by country. Copyright certificate courses Our certificate courses provide guidance and tools to understand copyright challenges. Whether you are responsible for managing compliance and ethics, obtaining permissions, organizing your organization’s various license agreements, or managing content, our programs will help to navigate the complex world of copyright.