The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States. Is there something like that to photo copyright?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The photo does not have an expiration date, but the copyright held on that photo does. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Oct 27, 2021 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


This is not legal advice!

According to this FAQ from U.S. Copyright Office copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. Also get in mind this:

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

P.S. The law differ from country to country so if you explicitly mention the country of your interest you may get more precise answers. Here is link with the expiration times of copyright in different countries.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Very nice and quick answer. Thanks @Romeo Ninov. \$\endgroup\$
    – zewill
    Oct 26, 2021 at 11:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the laws are similar among the countries that recognize copyrights, as the foundation was laid in international conventions, such as The Universal Copyright Convention (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Copyright_Convention) and the Berne Convention (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention). Also remember that specific reproductions may have different copyrights from the original. E.g. if another person than the original photographer did the retouching, the copyrights for the retouched version could lie with the retoucher. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pete
    Oct 26, 2021 at 11:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ According to this link, you do have the copyright in the US when the "work is created", but you need to register the work in order to take legal action in case of copyright infringements: wellsiplaw.com/how-and-why-to-register-copyright-in-your-work \$\endgroup\$
    – Pete
    Oct 26, 2021 at 12:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @zewill This seems like you asking a new question If so, it is better to pose it as a new question and not just in the comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Oct 26, 2021 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pete You don't have to register it to seek actual damages from an infringer. You do need to register it to seek punitive damages from copyright infringement. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Oct 27, 2021 at 10:59

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