Music publishing assets are subject to extensive legal protections under copyright law, both domestically and internationally, and are considered secure forms of intellectual property. The duration of these rights are long, typically 70 years after the death of the last living songwriter.
|Date of Work||Protected From||Term|
|Published before 1923||In public domain||None|
|Published from 1923-63||When published with notice||28 years + could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain|
|Published from 1964-77||When published with notice||28 years for first term. Now automatic extension of 67 years for second term|
|Created before 1-1-78 but not published||1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright||Life + 70 years, or 12-31-2002 whichever is greater|
|Created before 1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002||1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright||Life + 70 years, or 12-31-2002|
|Created 1-1-78 or after||When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression||Life + 70 years|
International Copyright is governed principally by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which requires its signatories to recognize the copyright of works of authors from the signatory countries in the same way it recognizes the copyright of its own nationals. Most countries offer copyright protection under this convention.