Copyright time limits

Copyright in Austria is not transferable among the living! It cannot be sold as a whole or in part, nor transferred or assigned, but is held by the creator of the work until he or she dies. Subsequently it is passed on to the heirs.

Copyright is not an eternal right. There are specific time periods of protection. Once they expire, the work becomes free and available to the public. Anyone can adapt or exploit it as they wish.

The length of terms of protection have been largely harmonised within the EU. Copyright is subject to a period of 70 years from the death of the author.  The work belongs to the public domain beginning on January 1st of the following year.

Regarding works of joint authorship, the term is triggered by the death of the last joint author. This rule also applies to combined works of music.


Death of author:  March 18, 1947 / Period of protection ends on December 31, 2017

For anonymous or pseudonymous works, the 70-year term of protection starts with the creation of the work, not the death of the author who is unknown. This term begins anew with the publication or release if occuring within the initial 70 year period.


Creation of the work: 18 November 1960 / Provisional term of protection: 31 December 2030

Publication: 23 June 1984 / Final term of protection: 31 December 2054