How long will your copyright last?

| Nov 22, 2019 | Copyright Law

You’re an artist. Maybe you write songs or novels, for instance. You love to create.

At the same time, though, you know that it’s a business. People do steal other people’s creations and intellectual property for their own gain. That’s why your copyright on your work is so important. You want to share it with the world, but you also want to make sure that you still own everything that you have put so much time and effort into.

What you start wondering, though, is how long it lasts. Do you ever have to worry about that copyright expiring?

You do not. Modern copyright laws, which date back to Jan. 1, 1978, say that anything created after that date has full copyright protection for the rest of your life. To protect it further, the copyright then lasts for another 70 years after you pass away.

What good is that additional time? Creative works may be yours while you are alive, but they become part of your estate when you pass away. That means they likely go to your children or whoever you name as beneficiaries. Generally speaking, the extra 70 years means that the copyright will last for their lives, as well. That can be important if you hope that your work can be a source of income for the next generation.

For those in creative pursuits, the art itself is often far more important and inspiring than the money or the ins and outs of the legal system. However, you can see just how important it is to consider both sides of the process and to know exactly what rights you have.