A properly registered copyright will be protected under the federal Copyright Act depending upon when it was registered. There is a different set of laws protecting works created before January 1, 1978. Another set applies to works created on or after January 1, 1978.The focus of this article is the latter.
Works Created On/After Jan. 1, 1978
The length of the life of the author, plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death
If the work is created jointly by 2 or more authors and is not a work for hire: Length of the life of the last surviving author, plus an additional 70 years after that author’s death
Works for hire, anonymous works, and pseudonymous works: 95 years from the date of first publication, or 120 years from date of creation, whichever ends first
When the actual name of an anonymous or pseudonymous author is identified, the term is the length of the life of that author, plus an additional 70 years from the date of the death of that author