Official text copyright

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Official texts, as defined in Article 2(4) of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, are texts of a legislative, administrative and legal nature (e.g. statute laws, administrative regulations and court decisions) and the official translations of such texts.

The Convention indicates that it shall be left to the discretion of each member country of the Berne Convention to determine the protection to be granted to such official texts in that country.

Generally, member countries of the Convention include official texts in the public domain. However, the governments of the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries claim a Crown copyright in their works. Many republics of the Commonwealth also copyright their official works, though they have no crown copyright.

Table[edit]

Countries and areas Types of official texts Terms of copyright protection References and related articles
Albania Literary and artistic works being summaries of the official gazette of legislative and administrative nature and their official translations 0, no copyright Art. 3, Law no. 7564 of 19 April 1992, as modified by Law no. 7923 of 19 May 1995
Algeria Laws and regulations, decisions and administrative acts of state bodies and local authorities, court decisions, and their official translations 0, no copyright Art. 11, Ordonnance n° 03-05 du 19 Joumada El Oula 1424 correspondant au 19 juillet 2003 relative aux droits d’auteur et aux droits voisins
Algeria Other state works Freely usable for non-profit when respecting the source and integrity of the works Art. 9, Ordonnance n° 03-05 du 19 Joumada El Oula 1424 correspondant au 19 juillet 2003 relative aux droits d’auteur et aux droits voisins
Andorra Official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, and its official translation 0, no copyright Art. 4, Law on Copyright and Related Rights of 1999
Angola Laws and judicial and administrative decisions 0, no copyright Art. 9, Copyright Law n° 4/90, March 1990
Antigua and Barbuda Public record 0, no copyright (may make or supply to any person of any copy of the work) s. 67, Copyright Act, 2002
Armenia
  • Official documents (laws, decisions, decrees, etc.) as well as their official translations
  • state emblems and signs (flags, coats of arms (armorial bearings), medals (decorations), monetary signs, etc.)
0, no copyright Art. 6, Law on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights
Austria Laws, ordinances and official decrees issued by Austrian federal and state authorities 0, no copyright Austrian copyright law (§7 UrhG)
Australia Work, film or sound recording made by or under the direction or control of the Government, and any work first published by or under the direction or control of the Government. 50 years until year end from publication Part VII of the Copyright Act 1968
Azerbaijan
  • Official documents (laws, court decisions, other texts of legislative, administrative or judicial character) and official translations thereof
  • State emblems and official signs (flags, armorial bearings, decorations, monetary signs and other State symbols and official signs)
0, no copyright Art. 7, Law of Azerbaijan Republic "on Copyright and Neighbouring Right
Bahrain
  • Court judgments passed by the law courts in various degrees and translations of such judgments
  • Official documents such as texts of laws, Amiri Decrees, administrative orders, international treaties, their translations and all official documents
  • Unless published in compiled publications for a reason that is attributed to creative efforts, arrangement or any other personal effort
0, no copyright Art. 4(1)(a), (b), (2), Legislative Decree no. 10 of 1993
Belarus
  • Formal documents (laws, judgements, other texts of legal, administrative and judicial nature), and also their official translations
  • State symbols and signs (flag, coat of arms, anthem, awards, banknotes and other signs)
0, no copyright Law of the Republic of Belarus: No. 370-XIII of May 16, 1996: Section 2, Article 8 (in Russian, in English)
Canada Canadian governmental works 50 years until year end from publication (the first publication) Section 12 of the Copyright Act (French: Loi sur le droit d'auteur)
Canada Federal laws Reproductions are allowed with certain conditions, whether under Crown Copyright or not. Reproduction of Federal Law Order (French: Décret sur la reproduction de la législation fédérale et des décisions des tribunaux de constitution fédérale)
China, People's Republic of (Mainland) Laws; regulations; resolutions, decisions and orders of state organs; other documents of legislative, administrative and judicial nature; and their official translations 0, no copyright Article 5 of the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China[1]
Czech Republic
  • An official work, such as a legal regulation, decision, public charter, publicly accessible register and the collection of its records, and also
  • An official draft of an official work and other preparatory official documentation including the official translation of such work,
  • Chamber of Deputies and Senate publications,
  • A memorial chronicle of a municipality (municipal chronicle),
  • A state symbol and symbol of a regional self-governing unit, and
  • Other such works where there is public interest in their exclusion from copyright protection.
0, no copyright Czech Copyright Act (Law No. 121/2000, Section 3, Letter a)
Djibouti Laws, judicial and administrative decisions as well as their official translations 0, no copyright Art. 7(a), Loi n°114/AN/96/3e L relatif à la protection du droit d'auteur
Georgia
  1. a) official documents (laws, decisions of courts, other texts of administrative and normative character), as well as their official translations;
    b) official symbols of state (flag, emblem, anthem, award, monetary symbols, other official signs and symbols of state);
    c) information of events and facts.
  2. When using the works mentioned in subparagraph "b" of this Article under the other persons name, it is possible to protect the right of author's name.
0, no copyright Article 8 of the Law of Georgia No. 2388-Is of September 9, 1999 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (in Russian, in English)
Georgia Proposed official symbols and drafts of formal documents Can be copyrighted Article 8 of the Law of Georgia No. 2388-Is of September 9, 1999 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (in Russian, in English)
Germany A statute, ordinance, official decree or judgment (official work) issued by a German federal or state authority or court 0, no copyright German copyright law (§ 5 Abs.1 UrhG).
Ghana Governmental works (Art. 3) 70 years from creation or publication, whichever is later Copyright Act, 2005 (Art. 13)
Greece Official texts expressive of the authority of the State, notably to legislative, administrative or judicial texts 0, no copyright Art. 2(5), Law 2121/1993
Guatemala Works of the state or its public entities, municipalities, universities and other educational establishments in the country. 75 years until year end from publication Chapter 5, and specifically Art. 49, Law on Copyright and Related Rights (Decree No. 33-98 last modified by Decree No. 56-2000)
Laws, decrees, regulations, orders, agreements, resolutions, judicial decisions and decisions of governmental bodies, as well as official translations of these texts. Freely usable when respecting the source and integrity of the works Art. 68, Law on Copyright and Related Rights (Decree No. 33-98 last modified by Decree No. 56-2000)
Hong Kong Public record 0, no copyright (may be copied for any purpose without infringement of copyright) Article 58, Chapter 528 of the Law of Hong Kong, the Copyright Ordinance (Chinese: 版權條例)
Hong Kong Work made by an on-duty officer of the Government


Ordinance
Work made by or under the direction or control of the Legislative Council

50 years from publication or 125 years from creation, whichever is shorter (until year end)


50 years from publication in the Gazette (until year end)
50 years after creation (until year end)

*Article 182, Chapter 528 of the Law of Hong Kong, the Copyright Ordinance
India Government work 60 years until year end since publication S. 28, Copyright Act, 1957[2]
Italy Texts of official acts of the State or of public administrations, whether Italian or foreign 0, no copyright Art. 5, Law No. 633 of 22 April 1941, as amended by Art. 17, Law No. 52 of 6 February 1996
Japan Official texts 0, no copyright Art. 13, Law No. 48 of 6 May 1970, as amended
Korea, Republic of (South) Official texts 0, no copyright Art. 7, Copyright Act of 30 December 1989
Latvia
  1. Regulatory enactments and administrative rulings, other documents issued by the State and Local Governments and adjudications of courts (laws, court judgments, decisions and other official documents), as well as official translations of such texts;
  2. State approved as well as internationally recognized official symbols and signs (flags, coats of arms, anthems, decorations, banknotes, and the like), the use of which is subject to specific regulatory enactments;
  3. Maps, the preparation and use of which are determined by regulatory enactments;
0, no copyright [3]
Macau Official texts, in particular the texts of treaties, laws and regulations and those of reports or decisions by authorities of any kind, and translations thereof 0, no copyright[4] Article 6 of Decree-Law n.o 43/99/M
Nigeria Governmental literary, musical or non-photograph artistic works 70 years until year end since publication Schedule I, Copyright Act (Cap. 68) 1990
Netherlands Laws, decisions and regulations by a public authority, as well as judgements and administrative decisions. 0, no copyright Article 11 of Dutch Copyright Law (Auteurswet)
New Zealand General Crown copyright


Typographical arrangements of published material

100 years until year end (Section 26(3)(b))


25 years until year end

Sections 2(1), 26 and 27 of the Copyright Act 1994
Pakistan Government work 50 years until year end from its publication S. 22 of the Copyright Ordinance, 1962
Philippines Any official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature and official translation thereof 0, no copyright Section 175, Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines
Poland (1) Normative texts and the drafts thereof

(2) Official documents, documentary material, devices and symbols.

0, no copyright Article 4 of Law of February 4, 1994, on Copyright and Neighboring Rights
Romania Official texts of a political, legislative, administrative or judicial nature, and official translations thereof 0, no copyright Article 9 of Law No. 8 of March 14, 1996, on Copyright and Neighboring Rights
Russia Shall not be objects of copyright:
  • official documents of state government agencies and local government agencies of municipal formations, including laws, other legal texts, judicial decisions, other materials of legislative, administrative and judicial character, official documents of international organizations, as well as their official translations;
  • state symbols and signs (flags, emblems, orders, banknotes, and the like), as well as symbols and signs of municipal formations;
0, no copyright Article 1259 of Civil Code of Russian Federation
Singapore Literary, dramatic or musical work, or engraving or a photograph made by or under the direction or control of the Government 70 years until year end from publication[5] s. 197(3), (4A), Copyright Act
Singapore Artistic work, other than engraving or a photograph, made by or under the direction or control of the Government 70 years until year end after making s. 197(4), Copyright Act
Slovakia
  • Legal regulation, decision, public charter, publicly accessible register, official document, Slovak technical standard; this includes the preparatory documents and translations
  • Daily news
  • Public speeches (with except of the right of inclusion in a collection or edition)
0, no copyright Slovak Copyright Act (Law No. 618/2003, Section 7, Par. 3, Let. b)
South Africa State works otherwise eligible for copyright 50 years until year end from publication S. 5, Copyright Act, 1978
South Africa Official texts of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or in official translations of such texts, or in speeches of a political nature or in speeches delivered in the course of legal proceedings, or in news of the day that are mere items of press information 0, no copyright S. 12(8)(a), of the Copyright Act, 1978
Sudan Official documents 0, no copyright S. 6(b) of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Protection Act 1996
Taiwan, Republic of China
  • Constitution, acts, regulations, and official documents (proclamations, text of speeches, news releases, and other documents prepared by civil servants in the course of carrying out their duties), and their translations and compilations by central and local government agencies
  • Test questions and alternative test questions from all kinds of examinations held pursuant to laws or regulations
0, no copyright Article 9 of the Copyright Act of the Republic of China
Thailand Official documents 0, no copyright Section 7 of the Copyright Act, BE 2537 (1994)
United Kingdom Works produced by the British Government 50 years from the date of publication
United States Work of the United States Government


Edicts of government, such as judicial opinions, administrative rulings, legislative enactments, public ordinances, and similar official legal documents

0, no copyright[6]


0, no copyright[7]

17 U.S.C. § 105


§ 206.01 of the Compendium II: Copyright Office Practices

Venezuela Texts of laws, decrees, official regulations, public treaties, judicial decisions and other official acts 0, no copyright[8] Art. 4, Ley sobre el Dercho de Autor as modified by the Decreto del 14 de agosto de 1993
Zimbabwe Publications of the State 50 years until year end from publication generally, with perpetual copyright if never published S. 49, Copyright Act (Chapter 26:1)

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ The Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China is inapplicable in Hong Kong and Macau because it is not listed in Annex III of the Hong Kong Basic Law or Annex III of the Macau Basic Law.
  2. ^ Pursuant to S. 52(1)q.(iii) of the Copyright Act, 1957, the reproduction or publication of the report of any committee, commission, council, board or other like body appointed by the Government if such report has been laid on the Table of the Legislature does not infringe copyright, unless the reproduction or publication of such report is prohibited by the Government.
  3. ^ Art. 6, Copyright Law of 6 April 2000
  4. ^ Where the official texts incorporate protected works, these may be used by public services within their area of concern without the author’s consent and without any right being thereby conferred on him.
  5. ^ Unpublished governmental literary, dramatic and musical works are under perpetual copyright if never published.
  6. ^ Works created by the several states may be eligible for copyright depending on laws that vary from state to state.
  7. ^ Not copyrightable for reasons of public policy, whether such works are Federal, State, or local as well as to those of foreign governments.
  8. ^ However, Art. 138, Ley sobre el Dercho de Autor as modified by the Decreto del 14 de agosto de 1993, requires specific official permission for the publication of a collection of Venezuelan laws or of public treaties entered into by the Republic or of national court rulings. The permission is to get specific official value of the collection after review for accuracy. Failure to have such a permission makes the work not authorized and without official value.