Copyright Timeline


Based on comments by Michael Goad [September 2, 2008 10:25:54 PM EDT To: Mailing List] and Copyright, Copy Sense.

The following applies to copyrights within the United States.

Time periodCopyright NoticeInitial PeriodRenewal PeriodUnpublished worksWorks for Hire
Created prior to 1923 Works created prior to 1923 do not have copyright protection
Created from 1923 to 1963 Required; absent notice works are in the public domain 28 years Total of 95 years; if renewed, protection ends no later than 2058; works not renewed pass into public domain by 1991 Covered by today's copyright law. Not Applicable
Created from 1964 to 1977 Required; absent notice works are in the public domain Initially 28 years, but in the end 95 years following subsequent acts Net effect of successive acts was to eliminate renewal requirements, Entered the public domain automatically upon future publication Not Applicable
Created after December 31, 1977 Not required. Copyright starts as soon as the work is fixed in some tangible form. Life of the author plus 70 years, Not Applicable "Publication" not required for protection. 95 years if produced by a corporation, and published; 120 years if not published