How long does copyright protection last?

When does copyright protection start?

Copyright commences automatically as soon as the copyright work is recorded in a material form.

There are no formalities such as registration, publication, or examination (as occurs with trademarks and patents), and there are no fees payable.

When does copyright protection end?

The duration of copyright differs from one type of copyright work to another.

Duration of copyright

Under the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017 (Cwlth) which amended the Copyright Act 1968 (Cwlth), new terms of protection apply in Australia to copyright materials, including materials made before 1 January 2019 and materials created or made public on or after that date.

'Copyright materials' includes works (including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works), sound recordings and cinematograph films.

These duration rules do not apply to material in which copyright expired by 1 January 2019.

Find out more about the duration of copyright in Australia from the Australian Copyright Council. Read more details in the duration of copyright information sheet.

The Australian Government Attorney-General's Department, which is responsible for copyright in Australia, is another source of copyright information.