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Copyright and related rights: term of protection

This Directive aims to harmonise the term of protection for copyright and related rights in the European Union. It sets the term of protection for copyright at 70 years and for related rights at 50 years.

ACT

Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights (codified version).

SUMMARY

The term of protection of copyright for a literary or artistic work is set at 70 years from:

  • the death of the author of the work or the death of the last surviving author in the case of a work of joint ownership;
  • the date on which the work was lawfully made available to the public if it is anonymous or was produced under a pseudonym.

The term of protection for a film or audiovisual work is set at 70 years after the death of the last survivor among the following: the principal director, the author of the screenplay, the author of the dialogue and the composer of music specifically created for use in the cinematographic or audiovisual work.

Related rights

The term of protection of related rights (performers, producers of phonograms, film producers and broadcasting organisations) is set at 50 years. This term is to be calculated on a case-by-case basis from the date of the performance, the publication or communication of its fixation.

Calculating terms

The term of protection begins simultaneously in all the Member States. It is calculated from 1 January of the year following the event giving rise to it.

Protection of works from Non-EU Member Countries

If the work originates in a third country and the author is not a Community national, the protection granted in the Member States ends at the final date of protection in the country of origin, but must not exceed the term set in the Community.

Notification

The Member States are required to communicate to the Commission immediately any plans for new related rights.

Context

Directive 2006/116/EC codifies and repeals Directive 93/98/EEC harmonising the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights which was substantially amended by Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2006/116/EC [Procedure: codecision COD/2006/0071]

16.1.2007

1.7.1995 for provisions of Directive 93/98/EEC (repealed)
22.12.2002 for provisions of Directive 2001/29/EC (repealed)

OJ L 372 of 27.12.2006

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2006/116/EEC of 16 July 2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights [COM(2008) 464 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Proposal aims to extend the term of protection for performers’ and producers’ rights from 50 to years, from publication of the work. This extension would allow performers to commercially exploit their work for a longer time, and record producers to generate additional income from the sale of recordings in their stores and on the Internet.
Furthermore, the Commission proposes a uniform way of calculating the term of protection for musical compositions containing the contributions of several authors. The proposed rule provides that the term of protection of a musical composition shall expire 70 years after the death of the last surviving author, whether they are the author of the words or the composer of the music.
Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0157)

Last updated: 31.10.2008
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