From 1 January 2019

Crown copyright now expires on most government-made works after 50 years, whether they are published or unpublished.

Works made by individuals, businesses or local government agencies, and which have been archived to State Records’ collection, may be covered under a longer period of copyright.

Definition

The Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968 protects original:

  • literary
  • dramatic
  • musical or artistic works
  • sound recordings
  • radio and television broadcasts and
  • published editions of works.

Ownership of copyright in records held by State Records of South Australia

The South Australian Government is or was the owner of copyright for most works held in State Records’ collection. This includes works made by authors who are employed or contracted by the government. It does not include works made by private individuals or businesses, or by local government agencies.

Responsibilities of researchers

The Commonwealth Government has provided an explanation of rights to use works under copyright for research or study.

If you wish to reproduce a record held in our collection, it is your responsibility to:

  • determine whether the work you wish to use is still in copyright
  • determine who holds copyright, and
  • approach the copyright owner to obtain the necessary permission to reproduce the work.

We can help you to meet these responsibilities.

Duration of copyright

Use the list below to help determine if a non-Crown work is still in copyright. A complete table is also available through the Commonwealth Government.

Dates are calculated from 31 December in the year in which a work was made or made public.

Works where the author is unknown (other than photographs)   

  • If made public before 1 January 2019, copyright has already expired if made public before 1 January 1955. Otherwise copyright expires the year first made public + 70 years.
  • If the publication has never been made public, copyright has already expired if the work was made before 1 January 1949. Otherwise copyright expires the year made + 70 years.

Literary works

  • If made public before the death of author, copyright has already expired if the author died before 1 January 1955. Otherwise copyright expires after the life of author + 70 years.
  • If made public after author’s death and before 1 January 2019, copyright has already expired if made public before 1 January 1955. Otherwise copyright expires the year first made public + 70 years.
  • If the publication is unpublished, copyright has already expired if the author died before 1 January 1949. Otherwise copyright expires after the life of author + 70 years.

Artistic works (including maps and plans)    

  • Copyright has already expired if the author died before 1 January 1955. Otherwise copyright expires after life of author + 70 years.
  • If the author is unknown, copyright expires after year first made public + 70 years.

Photographs     

  • Copyright has already expired if the work was made before 1 January 1955. Otherwise copyright expires after life of author + 70 years.
  • If the author is unknown, copyright expires after year first made public + 70 years.