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Lakes and Rivers
Copyright Law

What is the longest duration of copyright in the world?


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September 12, 2009 4:35AM

I think the honor for that would have to go to France.

In a theoretical example let's say a French soldier at the age of 20 writes a short story during WWII (1945) and it's published in the Military magazines of the day. He goes on to a long career in the army and, at the age of 65, while reviewing troop on his "farewell tour" is tragically killed by a suicide bomb.

At the time of his death the copyright for his story has already been in effect for 45 years. Add to that 70 years duration for a "normal" term and you have a total of 115 years. However there are two little known codicils in French copyright law. Any work completed during the "war years" 1939-1945 is eligible for a copyright extension of 8 years 120 days. Additionally anyone who "dies in the service of France" can receive a further 30 years of copyright protection.

So if you do the math 45 + 70 +30 + 8 years 120 days brings us to a grand total of 153 years 120 days.