How Long Does Copyright Last?

The length that a copyright lasts varies based on various factors including when it was created (the law was modified in 1978 and 1987), and of course what country’s copyright laws are being considered. In the United States, however, for works created after 1977, the length of a copyright is the author’s life plus 70 years if the work was created by an individual. Or, if the copyright was created by a company, the length is 95 years from the first date of publication, or 120 years from its creation (whichever is shorter). So it’s probably safe to say that Beethoven’s No. 9 isn’t protected by copyright law, whereas Elvis’ Blue Suede Shoes still is.

Disclaimer: The purpose of our “Knowledge Base” documents is to explain the basics of the subject matter in question and to provide some rationale behind the actions that Web Defense Systems might take on behalf of our clients. We are not lawyers, and the preceding information should not be used in lieu of legal advice.