Authoritative References With Regard To Copyright Law.

For those who wish to delve into copyright more deeply, we offer the following links to public authority and other reputable websites in various countries, which give more precise detail on copyright law. Refer to these references for your own edification, but if you have a copyright problem we suggest you contact a copyright lawyer who has tried cases in your locale for advice.

(We would be grateful for contributions or corrections to this section, specifically current links to the Copyright or Intellectual Property offices of specific countries.)

Supra National Authorities

Attempts to obtain standardisation in copyright laws have led to the adoption of many international treaties among many countries. Many of these treaties and statements of intent do allow for considerable variation in how they may be interpreted by sovereign governments. The most important treaties and statements are listed below.

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

See European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8, Right to Respect for Private and Family Life, and Article 10, Freedom of Expression, have particular relevance for photographers. See Article 8 with relevance to the Moral Right concerning privacy. Article 10 provides for freedom of expression and can be used to resist censorship.

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In particular, note Article 12, the Right to Privacy, and Article 27 (2), the Right to Freedom of Expression. These are relevant for the same reasons mentioned above with regard to the EU Convention On Human Rights.

Copyright Rules by Territory

List of Countries’ Copyright Lengths

Links to Copyright Resources in some Individual Countries (2020)




China, Peoples Republic of





Hong Kong




New Zealand







United Kingdom

    • Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 Note that this primary act has been amended by many successive Statutory Instruments and a list of those can be found on Wikipedia.
    • UK Intellectual Property Office The UK governments official body responsible for Intellectual Property, of which copyright is a part. Guidance and explanation of copyright law in the UK.
    • Design and Artists Copyright Society DACS is a membership based organisation representing 36,000 fine artists and 16,000 photographers, illustrators, craftspeople, cartoonests, architects, animators and designers, including some of the biggest names in contemporary visual arts. Their website has many useful articles and publications relating to copyright.

United States