How long does copyright last?

Duration of copyright may depend upon whether a work is published or unpublished or whether the creator is known/unknown

This table outlines the duration of copyright protection for a variety of material types in the UK. The length of protection may vary in other countries.  Once works are out of copyright they enter the "public domain" and are available to reuse.

Type of material Duration of copyright
All works

70 years from death of author

If several authors, 70 years following death of last surviving author

Dramatic & musical work 70 years from publication if no named author
Sound recordings 70 years from recording & performance rights (from November 2013)
Films 70 years from last to die of: director, producer, author of screenplay, composer of soundtrack
Broadcasts 50 years from date of broadcast
Typographical layout 25 years from publication
Crown copyright 125 years from publication but subject to a waiver
Unpublished anonymous works created before 1 August 1989 Copyright expires on 31 December 2039