The duration of copyright in the US is the lifetime of the author plus 60 years. But in Uruguay it is life plus 50 years.

Does that mean the work is in the public domain in Uruguay after 50 years?

There are several other countries with copyright duration lesser than the US.

  • Note that the reverse case -- where a work is published in shorter-term country like Uruguay -- may not see a normal full term in a long-term country due to the rule of the shorter term: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_the_shorter_term – apsillers Mar 25 '19 at 23:34
  • 1
    @apsillers: This is true in general. But the US does not observe the rule of the shorter term, so that copyright terms in the US are uniform without regard to country of origin. The only exception is for works affected by the URAA, which are in the public domain in the US if and only if they were in the public domain in their countries of origin on (for most countries) January 1, 1996. – Kevin Mar 25 '19 at 23:56
  • Actually in the US the current rule is life+70, not life +60. But works published before 1977 use the older standard, which was a fixed term not related to the death date of the author, 95 years in many cases. An author who died shortly after the 1976 act came into force could have older work (say from 1975) in copyright in the US longer than newer work (say published in 1979 when the author died in 1980). – David Siegel Mar 26 '19 at 0:37

Does that mean the work is in the public domain in Uruguay after 50 years?


| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    50 years after the author's death is the minimum internationally for countries party to the Berne Convention. Photographs and films have different minimums. – George White Mar 25 '19 at 21:17
  • @GeorgeWhite Something could also enter the public domain because it did so under that country's copyright laws before the Berne Convention was adopted. – ohwilleke Mar 25 '19 at 21:42
  • @ohwilleke thanks! So I take that copyright extension act aka Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in the US has no impact in countries outside it? Doesn't this also mean a huge number of works protected in the US like "The Great Gatsby" are in public domain in non-US countries? – nshunz Mar 26 '19 at 6:10
  • 1
    @nshunz Regarding Gatsby, apparently so: onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/nonus?id=olbp17102 – apsillers Mar 26 '19 at 11:27
  • @nshunz It is not trivial to determine what is and is not subject to U.S. copyright law in many cases, although there are easy cases that are and are not subject to U.S. copyright law. There are myriad possible U.S. contacts and some combinations suffice to call for application of U.S. law given choice of law and jurisdiction issues, and there are some that don't. There are many fact patterns that aren't governed by clear precedents regarding whether U.S. law does or does not apply, in part, because choice of law jurisprudence pre-1960 is mostly irrelevant due to evolving common law doctrines. – ohwilleke Mar 26 '19 at 23:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.