The duration of copyright is literary or musical works or artistic works is for the life of the author and fifty years from the end of the year in which the author dies.
If before the death of the author the work has been:
- performed in public;
- offered for sale to the public of records; or
the duration of copyright is for fifty years from the end of the year in which any of the above acts were carried out.
The duration of copyright in cinematograph films, photographs and computer programs is for fifty years from the end of the year in which the work:
- was made available to the public with the consent of the owner of the copyright; or
- was first published,
whichever term is the longer.
Failing neither of these events occurring within fifty years of the making of the work, the duration of copyright in cinematograph films, photographs and computer programs is for fifty years from the end of the year in which the work is made.
South Africa is a signatory the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works is an international agreement governing copyright, signed in Berne, Switzerland on September 9, 1886. The Berne Convention aims to assist nationals of its signing countries obtain international protection of their works. In South Africa the copyright of works of authors from other signatory countries are granted the same rights of copyright as that of South African nationals. Similarly, copyright work created by South Africa nationals in South Africa will be afforded the same protection in other countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention, as the copyright work of nationals of those countries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.