Copyright of official texts
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.
|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|
||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|
||0, no copyright||Art. 7, Law of Azerbaijan Republic "on Copyright and Neighbouring Right|
||0, no copyright||Art. 4(1)(a), (b), (2), Legislative Decree no. 10 of 1993|
||0, no copyright||Law of the Republic of Belarus: No. 370-XIII of May 16, 1996: Section 2, Article 8 (in Russian, in English)|
||0, no copyright||Law 9610/98, article 8
|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|
||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|
||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
||50 years from publication or 125 years from creation, whichever is shorter (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|
|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|
||0, no copyright|||
|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||Article 6 of Decree-Law n.o 43/99/M|
|Malaysia||Works of the Government, Government organizations and international bodies||50 years until year end since publication||s. 23, Copyright Act 1987|
|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
||100 years until year end (Section 26(3)(b))
||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:
||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||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|
||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||
||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
||0, no copyright
||17 U.S.C. § 105|
|Venezuela||Texts of laws, decrees, official regulations, public treaties, judicial decisions and other official acts||0, no copyright||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)|
Notes and references
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Commons:Image copyright tags visual.|
- 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.
- Pursuant to S. 52(1)q.(iii) of the Copyright Act, 1957 Archived 2004-11-29 at Archive.today, 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.
- Art. 6, Copyright Law of 6 April 2000
- 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.
- Unpublished governmental literary, dramatic and musical works are under perpetual copyright if never published.
- Works created by the several states may be eligible for copyright depending on laws that vary from state to state.
- Not copyrightable for reasons of public policy, whether such works are Federal, State, or local as well as to those of foreign governments.
- 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.