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Copyright: Duration

    The entire section on duration can be found here

    § 302. Duration of copyright: Works created on or after January 1, 1978

    (a) In General.— Copyright in a work created on or after January 1, 1978, subsists from its creation and, except as provided by the following subsections, endures for a term consisting of the life of the author and 70 years after the author’s death.

    (b) Joint Works.— In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire, the copyright endures for a term consisting of the life of the last surviving author and 70 years after such last surviving author’s death.

    (c) Anonymous Works, Pseudonymous Works, and Works Made for Hire.— In the case of an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication, or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. If, before the end of such term, the identity of one or more of the authors of an anonymous or pseudonymous work is revealed in the records of a registration made for that work under subsections (a) or (d) of section 408, or in the records provided by this subsection, the copyright in the work endures for the term specified by subsection (a) or (b), based on the life of the author or authors whose identity has been revealed. Any person having an interest in the copyright in an anonymous or pseudonymous work may at any time record, in records to be maintained by the Copyright Office for that purpose, a statement identifying one or more authors of the work; the statement shall also identify the person filing it, the nature of that person’s interest, the source of the information recorded, and the particular work affected, and shall comply in form and content with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation.

    Comments: The following is a summary of the current duration of copyright: life of the author +70 years or if the work is by a corporate, anonymous or pseudonymous entity,  or if work is for hire, 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation, whichever is less. The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 (aka The Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act) extended the duration from 20 to 70 years. The extension was challenged and upheld by the USSC in Eldred v. Ashcroft (2003). There are unique durations (and extensions) for works published prior to January 1, 1978. All terms of copyright provided run to the end of the calendar year in which they would otherwise expire.

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