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DANC 355: Dance production

Copyright in the US

Major Legislation:

Copyright Act of 1976 (1976) - Established life of the author plus 50 years.

Copyright Renewal Act (1992) - Made copyright renewal automatic.  Prior to this act, the creator had to renew the copyright after 28 years.

Digital Millenium Copyright Act/Term Extension Act (1998) - Extended copyright protections from 75 years to 95 years from the date of the original work and extended the life of the author plus 50 years to 70 years for works published after 1978. Added digital media including copyright.  Many of these provisions are still being tested in courts.

TEACH Act (2002) - Created exceptions for non-profit educational performances.  Almost any performance or display is allowed as long as it's in a face-to-face environment.  Distance education is only allowed “reasonable and limited portions” of a work or display comparable to the face-to-face classroom.


Current Protections:

Published Date

Copyright Protections

Public Domain

Works Published Before 1923

Maximum Copyright Protection of 75 years has Expired

Works are in the Public Domain

Works Published 1923 thru 1978

Maximum Copyright Protection
of 95 Years from Year Published

1923 and Later Works Begin Entry to Public Domain on 1/1/2019

Works Published
After 1978

Life of the Longest Surviving
Author plus 70 years

Earliest Possible PD date is 1/1/2049


Much of this information came from the Public Domain Information project which can be found at:

Many thanks to the tireless work of the individuals at Haven Sound, Inc. for compiling this information.