The term of copyright protection depends upon the date of creation. If the copyright was created on or after January 1, 1978, protection is ordinarily at the moment of its creation until 70 years after the creator’s death. For works made for hire, such as when someone is hired by a corporation to produce a certain work, anonymous work and pseudonymous works, unless the author’s identity is revealed in the Copyright Office records, the durational copyright is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

For works created, published, or registered before January 1, 1978, or for more detailed information, it is recommended that you request Circular 15a, which addresses renewal of copyright, or Circular 15a, which addresses the duration of copyright. Also, you may wish to consider Circular 15t, which addresses extension of copyright terms. All of these can be obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office website at