Question: Can You Extend Copyright?

In Australia, copyright in published works generally lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

For unpublished works copyright duration is set by whether the work was made public in the creator’s lifetime (see the table in the PDF below for more information)..

What is copyright infringement? As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.

Law makers became convinced that allowing robust protects for creators encouraged production of valuable works (by rewarding authors for their efforts and requiring others to create their own works) so the copyright duration gradually lengthened from a short period to several decades to the author’s life and a little …

Mark Your Work Marking your works provides a clear indication that your work is protected by copyright. The copyright mark may prevent infringement before it begins. The Internet gives you new ways to mark your works. Metadata tags allow you to embed information within the code that displays your work.

Once copyright expires, there are no longer any copyright-related restrictions on a work’s copying or re-use. That said, libraries may restrict certain uses of public domain materials for other reasons, such as donor restrictions, Indigenous cultural concerns, or fragility.

After the period of copyright protection has expired, a work becomes available for use without permission from the copyright owner; it is said to be “in the public domain.” Most works enter the public domain because their copyrights have expired.

70 yearsThe term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.

fifty yearsIn New Zealand, copyright in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works lasts for the life of the author plus fifty years from the end of the year in which the author dies. For a work of joint authorship, the fifty years runs from the death of the last surviving author.

Many copyrights can be searched online. The Copyright Office will also check renewal information for you at an hourly rate. (Call the Reference & Bibliography Section at (202) 707-6850 or email You can also hire a private copyright search firm to see whether a renewal was filed.

When an author dies, the ownership of the copyright changes. Copyright is personal property, so the person who created the work could choose whom to pass the ownership of the copyright to. Copyright is treated no differently than other property.

In general, copyright does not protect individual words, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; or mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents.

1924As of 2019, copyright has expired for all works published in the United States before 1924. In other words, if the work was published in the U.S. before January 1, 1924, you are free to use it in the U.S. without permission.