Talk:Rule of the shorter term

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It is not clear to me that Australia has implemented the rule of the shorter term. The section listed in the 1968 copyright (248U) act makes no mention of terms. (talk) 02:06, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Furthermore, article 248U applies only to performances and recordings thereof. "Works" are handled in the similarly phrased article 184. Neither article says anything about whether Australia follows the rule of the shorter term for all or just for some countries, but the articles mention regulations... it appears as if in Australia, this question is not settled in law but in separate regulations (which may vary depending on the other country). Article 184 also does not say anything about reciprocity. It just says that the regulations may specify that the provisions of the Australian law applied to foreign works or works of foreign authors in the same way as they apply to Australian works or citizens. That's all. Article 185 on "Denial of copyright to citizens of countries not giving adequate protection to Australian works" also uses that "may" formulation and again doesn't say anything about "shorter terms".
To be sure that Australia had indeed implemented that "rule of the shorter term", one would need to dig up these regulations and state clearly to which other countries they applied in what manner. Lupo 12:43, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Added Australia based on Item 5 "Copyright not to subsist in overseas editions in certain cases"
(1) Copyright that, under the Act, subsists in a published edition of a work or works by reason only of the operation of these Regulations subsists only so long as protection in the nature of copyright subsists in relation to the edition under the law of a relevant country.
(2) In this regulation:
relevant country means a Berne Convention country, a UCC country or a WTO country:
(a) in which the edition was first published; or
(b) of which the publisher of the edition was a citizen or national at a material time; or
(c) in which the publisher, being an individual, was resident at a material time; or
(d) under the law of which the publisher, being a body corporate, was incorporated at a material time.
I think is the missing regulation -- (talk) 00:53, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Changed Australia from 'Yes' to 'No, except for "Published Editions"' - based on Item 1 which applies to most cases with Item 5 applying to the relatively minor case of "Published Editions". My background: I am developing a movie based on a short story written 100 years ago but lost then found and first published more recently and that has been an intense education in where it is still under copyright. I have discovered that to make any call like this we need to analyse all of a country's Act and its Regulations because there are many special case clauses that may apply. (, 27 Feb 2013)


The law only says that the government may issue directives about granting foreign works copyright, and that such directives may specify that the copyright term in Pakistan was not longer than that granted in the country of origin.

What directives have been issued, and do they actually include a "rule of the shorter term"? Lupo 11:16, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Added a document listing countries that I believe fall under Chapter XI Item 54(iii) of Pakistan's copyright law (talk) 03:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Great, thanks! Lupo 11:44, 26 November 2008 (UTC)


The cited transitional provision from the law of 1999, replacing an earlier law of 1997, states "The protection provided for under the present Law further applies to works and subject matters of neighboring rights which were in existence at the moment of the effective accession by the Principality of Andorra to an international agreement governing the protection of copyright or neighboring rights provided that on such a date the work or subject matter of neighboring rights has not fallen into public domain in its country of origin due to the expiration of the term of protection and has not fallen into public domain through the expiry of the term of protection which was previously granted". To translate:

  • This law of 1999 applies to foreign works from a country X if
    1. Andorra was a member of an international copyright treaty to which X was also a member, and
    2. the foreign work was not yet PD (still copyrighted) in the foreign source country when Andorra joined that treaty, and
    3. the foreign work was not yet PD through expiry of copyright of a previously granted copyright term in Andorra.

That has got nothing to do with the rule of the shorter term, it's a straight-forward application of the protection requirements of the Berne Convention when a country joins. See article 18 of the Berne Convention. So, there's no source for the claim that Andorra implemented the rule of the shorter term. According to our article on Andorra, it isn't a EU member either. Lupo 12:50, 25 November 2008 (UTC)


The source is given as article 7 of the Armenian copyright law of 1999. Article 7 is not about the rule of the shorter term. It only deals with the issues of "when was a work disclosed or published" (determined by international agreements) and "ownership of copyright" (determined by source country's laws). It does not deal with the question "how long does copyright last".

Maybe article 45(2)(1) is relevant, but seems to deny a "rule of the shorter term" but instead sets a fixed date (the entry of force of that 1999 law, which appears to have been on or after January 12, 2000): "The provisions of this Law, including a full term of protection, are applied to objects of copyright and related rights in existence at the moment of the coming into force of this Law whether created, prepared, communicated to the public, performed, disclosed or broadcasted in a foreign country, provided that under legislation of the country of origin the full term of their protection provided for has not expired..." (and there are international copyright agreements between Armenia and the foreign country). To me that looks as if the foreign work was PD in the foreign source country in 2000, then it didn't get a copyright in Armenia, but if it was, it got the full Armenian copyright term, regardless of a possibly shorter term in the source country.

So, where's the reliable source that says Armenia followed the "rule of the shorter term"? Lupo 13:05, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

This wasn't my original entry, but I corrected it per issues listed above ( (talk) 16:44, 30 November 2008 (UTC))


The source given states in article 88, additional art. 2, paragraph 2: "The protection granted by this Law shall apply to ... Foreign works, fixed performances and phonograms, which have been produced in other countries that are party to international conventions and agreements to which Turkey is also a party and which have not fallen into the public domain since the term of protection has not expired at the moment of entering into force of the amendment of this Article.

That's similar to Armenia above: copyright is not granted in Turkey on foreign works already PD (in Turkey or in the foreign source country? They don't say...) on the date the article was amended. It's a fixed date, not a general "rule of the shorter term".

Article 88 also says "Where the state of which the author is a national, grants adequate protection to the rights of Turkish authors or an international treaty allows exceptions and limitations with respect to the matters concerning foreign authors, the Council of Ministers may agree certain exceptions to the provisions of subparagraphs (1) and (3) of this Article.", but that uses that "may" formulation again. So, what did that Council of Ministers decide? Lupo 15:05, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Agree, Turkey should be listed as "No" with text similar to that of the US (talk) 04:00, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

This was my original entry; I corrected it per issues listed above ( (talk) 16:44, 30 November 2008 (UTC))


Same situation as with Pakistan: article 40 and 40A say that government decrees may specify so. Do they? What do actual decrees say? Lupo 13:16, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Added a document listing countries that I believe fall under section 40 of India's copyright law (talk) 04:02, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Thank you! Lupo 11:44, 26 November 2008 (UTC)


The cited article 126 of the Venezuelan Copyright Law states that foreign work are protected to the extent that Venezuelan works are protected in the foreign country. This is a reciprocity provision and not a true "Rule of the Shorter Term" provision. For example, works created by US government employees in the course of their daily duties are not copyrighted in the US, but works create by Venezuelan government employees are copyrighted in the US. Under article 126, the US works would be copyrighted in Venezuela. Under a true implementation of the "Rule of the Shorter Term", the works would not be copyrighted in Venezuela. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:51, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


What is the rule of the shorter term for foreign works in the United Kingdom? Does it apply there? If not, what does it mean?Angelprincess72 (talk) 09:09, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

UK is a member of the EU - does that answer your question? Rob Burbidge (talk) 16:38, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Maybe not. The issue is what is meant by "The EU member states implemented Directive 93/98/EEC and Directive 2006/116/EC in their national law." I am not an expert on the self-execution of EU Directives, but the EUR-Lex pages linked to by the References contain the following caveat: "The fact that there is a reference to national execution measures does not necessarily mean that these measures are either comprehensive or in conformity." I doubt that this has been checked by Wikipedia editors for every EU member state, so I will make this more explicit in the present article. In the UK, there is certainly the possibility in principle that the law could differ from EU Directives, which hold force only to the extent granted in UK law (i.e. pursuant to the European Communities Act 1972 etc.) The EUR-Lex page for Directive 93/98/EEC references the (UK SI) Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995, whilst that for Directive 2006/116/EC states "NO REFERENCE AVAILABLE". The SI (1995 no. 3297) does not simply incorporate the Directive text into UK law, it contains detailed regulations, and so checking whether they are "comprehensive or in conformity" would be non-trivial. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:57, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Best information is that Great Britain specifically does not apply the Rule of the Shorter Term. As PRS (British Performing Rights Society) told me: "We don't care if it's protected or not in your country. All we want to know is when the author died." (talk) 06:55, 7 October 2015 (UTC)LA Musicologist

Any chance of some example for layman readers?[edit]

I'm struggling to comprehend this article, it is all very abstract. Some hypothetical examples would help to clarify how the law works. Betty Logan (talk) 09:55, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

It's tough to come up with some examples that don't amount to original research. It would be relatively easy to compose a hypothetical example, but not one that isn't OR:
For example, suppose that Elbonia and San Serriffe are each countries that have joined the Berne Convention. Elbonia provides for a term of the life of the author, plus 50 years, the minimum term required by Berne. San Serriffe provides for a longer term, the life of the author, plus 70 years. Under the general principle of National Treatment (ignoring, for the moment, the Rule of Shorter Term), as embodied in Article 5(1) of Berne, San Serriffe would be required to protect works of Elbonian authors for the same term that it provides to its own authors, i.e., life+70 years.
However, the Rule of Shorter Term, as embodied in Article 7(8) of Berne, allows for an exception to National Treatment. Because Elbonia itself provides for only a life+50 term, San Serriffe may, if it wishes, protect works of Elbonian authors for a term of only life+50, rather than its native full term of life+70.
I did a Jstor search, and the only real-life example I could come up with was an obscure point of Japanese law, complicated by some of the odd copyright issues introduced by World War II. It is only a tangential discussion, and not knowing the details of Japanese copyright law, I don't fully understand it; and in any event, it would make for a poor example given that it relies on the WW II complications.
I'll hunt about a bit and see if I can come up with something that is both clear and not OR. TJRC (talk) 17:55, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Cool, that would be great. A concrete example would make it much easier to follow. Betty Logan (talk) 09:55, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

My own layman's reading of the Berne convention, and of the UK copyright act, and several others, suggests that the "shorter term" rule may only apply for works that are published "simultaneously" in all applicable countries (e.g. both countries for the Elbonia/San Seriffe example). Were this not the case, a country with life+50 years such as Canada could produce editions of (say) French books, after the 50 years were up, and export them to France. On the other hand we already see people in the US making works available to other countries over the net when they're copyright in their country of origin; the US Supreme Court has recently spoken in this area, though, and we may see changes in the future as the US shows signs of starting to honour laws of other countries at last. Barefootliam (talk) 06:41, 27 March 2014 (UTC)


Something is fishy with Iceland in the table. It says that Iceland doesn't apply the rule of the shorter term, based on Icelandic law. However, check Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights. Under "Additional information", it says that the directive was "Extended to the EEA by 22007D0056". Iceland is a member of the EEA, so it would seem that the EU directive applies in Iceland. This gives a strange situation:

  • Icelandic law: the rule of the shorter term is not used in Iceland
  • EU directive (part of Icelandic law): the rule of the shorter term is used in Iceland

Obviously, something must be wrong here. Would anyone happen to know where the error is hiding? --Stefan2 (talk) 20:41, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

I take it you saw the footnote about Iceland applying a reciprocity rule? Maybe it's just a difference of definition, since the rule of the shorter term is a limited form of reciprocity, only applying to countries where the protection is less than at home. So the Icelandic law and the EU directive might actually be compatible. Rd232 talk 20:48, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
I think the out may be in Article 7(3). First, Article7(1) provides the basic rule that requires application of the ROST:
Where the country of origin of a work, within the meaning of the Berne Convention, is a third country, and the author of the work is not a Community national, the term of protection granted by the Member States shall expire on the date of expiry of the protection granted in the country of origin of the work, but may not exceed the term laid down in Article 1.
To paraphrase, between a Community country such as Iceland, and a hypothetical non-Community country with a life+50 term, the expiration is based on the non-Community's term, but not longer than the Community Life+70 term; i.e., the Rule of Shorter term.
But, Article 7(3) has a grandfather clause where there are existing treaty obligations:
Member States which, on 29 October 1993, in particular pursuant to their international obligations, granted a longer term of protection than that which would result from the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 may maintain this protection until the conclusion of international agreements on the term of protection of copyright or related rights.
Might Iceland be in this case? (Mind you, this is just to put our minds at ease that there may not be a contradiction; actually putting this in the article is WP:OR) TJRC (talk) 23:57, 22 January 2013 (UTC)