The publication right is a copyright granted to the publisher who first publishes a previously unpublished work after that work's original copyright has expired. In practical terms, the publication right is the same as all the exploitative rights granted under copyright, but does not cover the moral rights.
Germany has had the publication right since 1965, first with a term of 10 years after the publication, extended in 1990 to 25 years. With the EU Directive 93/98/EEC, the publication right was introduced in all countries of the European Union with a 25-year term starting at the publication of the previously unpublished work. In the UK, the publication right was introduced by the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996, effective on December 1, 1996.
In the French copyright law, article 23 of the March 11, 1957 Act granted a 50 year exploitation right term for posthumous works, vested in the author's successors if the work was made available to the public during the 50 years following the year of his death, and vested in the owner of the work after that period.
In 1985, the term was extended to 70 years for musical compositions with or without lyrics.
In 1997, the exploitation right term of posthumous works was reduced to 25 years, if the work was first made available to the public after the 70 years following the year of the author's death, as a consequence of the implementation of the EU Directive 93/98/EEC. However, Article 10 of that directive states that : where a term of protection, which is longer than the corresponding term provided for by this Directive, is already running in a Member State on the date referred to in Article 13 (1), this Directive shall not have the effect of shortening that term of protection in that Member State.
The owner of a copy of a posthumous work, as distinguished from the owner of the original of the work, is vested with no such right, where the copy was transmitted without intent of transmitting such right.
- JuraWiki: Editio princeps. The publication right itself is defined in German law in Urhg §71. URLs last accessed April 13, 2006.
- European Union: Council Directive 93/98/EEC of 29 October 1993 harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights, 1993. Paragraph 4 defines the publication right. URL last accessed April 13, 2006.
- UK Parliament, Statutory Instrument 1996 No. 2967: The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996, 1996. Paragraphs 16 and 17 define the publication right. URL last accessed September 9, 2012.
- Journal officiel de la République française, 14 mars 1957, p. 02725.
- Loi n°85-660 du 3 juillet 1985 relative aux droits d'auteur et aux droits des artistes-interprètes, des producteurs de phonogrammes et de vidéogrammes et des entreprises de communication audiovisuelle p. 07495
- legifrance.gouv.fr, Loi n°92-597 du 1 juillet 1992 relative au code de la propriété intellectuelle (partie législative)
- European Union: Council Directive 93/98/EEC of 29 October 1993 harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights, 1993
- Cour de Cassation, Première Chambre civile, 9 novembre 1993, 91-16.286
- Lydiate, H.: The New Right, 1997. URL last accessed November 26, 2009.