How Long Do Current U.S. Laws Grant Copyright Protection (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 70 Years After Death

To obtain all of the necessary facts, you must first comprehend how copyright works. So, you should learn how to file copyright notices to combat copyright infringement as quickly as possible.

While many individuals find copyright to be a difficult topic to grasp, the majority of its principles are simple. It may appear to be a major issue when you learn that someone owns the copyright to a piece of work.

How Long Do Current U.S. Laws Grant Copyright Protection

How Long Do Current U.S. Laws Grant Copyright Protection?

Type Of AuthorshipCopyright Duration
Single70 Years After Death
Anonymous95 Years After Publishing

A valid copyright notice was required for a published work to be protected under the copyright rules until March 1, 1989. However, works that were published after 1989 do not need to have a copyright notice anymore to be protected under the law. But, it is necessary to keep in mind that even if it is not important, you should add one nevertheless. 

Infringers cannot claim in court that they were unaware that the work was copyrighted if it has a legal notice. This is why it is easier to win a copyright infringement action. Not just this, you can even recover damages. The mere presence of a copyright notice, on the other hand, may serve as a deterrent to infringement.

Putting a copyright notice may make it easier to locate a copyright owner and secure authorised permission to use the work. If you are a copyright owner in the United States, you can greatly improve the protection provided by copyright. All you need to do is file for copyright registration by contacting the US Copyright Office.

The basic guideline for the lifespan of the copyright, as of January 1, 1978, in the United States is the author’s lifetime plus an extra 70 years. For works created before that date, this rule does not apply.

For 95 years, all the works that were published between 1924 and 1978 are protected. The public domain includes works produced before 1924. The duration of copyright is determined by whether or not the work is published, as well as when it was published. 

Why Do Current U.S. Laws Grant Copyright Protection For That Long?

The U.S. Copyright Law provides monopoly protection for your original works. If you are a writer, copyright law grants you exclusive rights to manufacture and sell copies of your works. It further gives you rights to develop derivative works and to perform or show their works publicly. The main goal of copyright protection is promoting art and culture. These exclusive rights are limited in duration, expiring 70 years after the author is dead. 

Other than that, it gives protection for 95 years after your work is published. In reality, copyright protection kicks in as soon as you put your thoughts on paper, in a book, on a sound recording, or on a website. This is why some authors choose to register their copyrights, which has many people perplexed. The value of the original work of authorship rises when it is registered with the US Copyright Office.

Copyright protection was divided into two terms by the United States copyright statute of 1909. Renewal registration was a required aspect of securing the second term, and it had a stringent time restriction. Owners of copyrights in the United States are not required to renew their rights since the current copyright law went into effect.

Due to some international copyright treaties, the most notable of which is the Berne Convention, copyright protection standards are very comparable around the world. All member countries, including practically all industrialised nations, are required to provide copyright protection to authors who are citizens of any member country under this convention.


Even though a copyright notice isn’t needed, it’s a good idea to add one nevertheless. An infringement cannot claim in court that he or she had no idea work was copyrighted if it carries a legal notice. This makes it simpler to win a copyright infringement action and maybe recover enough damages to cover the costs of the case.

In addition, the mere presence of a copyright notice may serve as a deterrent to infringement. When you post a copyright notice, it is really useful. We are saying this because it makes it easier for people to reach you if you are a copyright holder. This way, people can receive your permission in a proper way to use your work. So, we hope that now you have enough knowledge about US copyright protection laws and their duration. 



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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