Where an item is published while the creator is still alive, the term of duration is determined with reference to their lifetime; i.e. copyright usually lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years.
However, copyright will last indefinitely in some unpublished works until published. The protection term for items not published within the lifetime of the author does not begin until the material is published.
Following the death of a creator, the heir or nominated copyright holder has the exclusive right to reproduce or publish the item or make an adaptation of it.
There is a special provision in the Copyright Act 1968 which permits a library or archives to copy unpublished material under certain circumstances. A copy can only be made for a user wanting the item for the purpose of research, study or criticism or review.
Updated: 20 February 2012