Why do copyrights take so long

Does copyright apply in the long term?

The question of the term of protection in copyright law

The Ownership of intellectual creation is under special protection in many countries around the world. This is how the legislature in Germany has it Copyright Act (UrhG) brought into being to protect the rights of the creator in one's own works. But especially when many years have passed since the creation of a work, it often prevails Perplexity about the legal situation.

Does the copyright have a unlimited validity? When is a work protected? Can the death of the author affect copyright and its duration? This guide has the answers ready and illuminates the topic and the most important aspects.

Copyright and its duration - this is how it is regulated

To the question: "How long does the copyright last?"To be able to answer, it should be clear from when such a right actually exists. It's worth taking a look in § 2 UrhG. It describes works in the sense of the law as "personal spiritual creations". These can include:

  • Pieces of music
  • Language works (speeches, documents and also computer programs)
  • Cinematic works
  • Results of the fine arts
  • Scientific representations
  • Technical notes (e.g. sketches, tables and maps)

As soon as such a creation is created, it is under copyright law Protected in any case for the duration of the life of the respective author.

Anyone who has a protected intellectual property without the consent of the creator uses it, spreads it or even enriches itself from it, commits a copyright infringement and must expect a written warning.

However, it should be noted: The copyright does not have a duration that is unlimited. As soon as the sole, spiritual owner dies, the period begins to run. The valid copyright then expires after 70 years. It looks different when the owner of the rights remains anonymous or uses a pseudonym. In this case, too, according to § 66 paragraph 1 UrhG, the duration of copyright is 70 years - but here the period begins with the publication of the respective work.

It becomes clear: every copyright has a duration that is directly related to the life expectancy of the Creator. It follows that, for example, the Music by young composers it is very likely that they are protected by copyright law for a particularly long time.

Good to know too: If works have more than one author, generally from Co-authors spoken. For the valid protection period, the life of the owner is important here, who lives the longest. Films in particular are affected by this regulation because several intellectual creators often work together.

The duration in an international context

With a view to the copyright and its duration are international again and again Agreement between States closed to enable uniform regulation across borders. Is particularly well known the "Bern Agreement"which works out Literature and art protects. Over 170 nations took part in the signing of the agreement and agreed on a minimum protection period of 50 years.

The individual contracting states always have the option of to extend the duration of copyright. Within the European Union (EU), the deadline of 70 years.

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Does copyright apply in the long term?
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