Trade secrets and other IP protection

Publication right


Publication right is a type of copyright that automatically applies when someone publishes for the first time a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work (including films) on which the original copyright has expired. For example, a newly discovered manuscript of a 19th-century author.

Publication for this purpose means:

  • issuing copies of a work to the public
  • making the work available by means of an electronic retrieval systems
  • renting or lending of copies of the work to the public
  • performing, exhibiting or showing the work in public
  • communicating the work to the public

A work qualifies for publication right protection only if:

  • the first publication is in the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • the publisher of the work is at the time of first publication a national of an EEA state

Publication right term of protection

Publication right lasts for 25 years. It arises automatically and there is no requirement for registration. The person who first publishes the material will own the publication right - this will not necessarily be the original copyright owner.

Publication right is different from the copyright in a published edition, which covers the original layout and typographical design, but doesn't cover copies of the previously published editions.

This expires 25 years from the end of the year in which the edition was first published.

See more on copyright for your business and managing your copyright.