Unpublished works

If the author of an unpublished work is known, the copyright protection on their work expires 70 years (50 years in the case of computer programs) after their death. If the author’s date of death is unknown, the term of protection is calculated in accordance with Art. 29 Para. 3 CopA, where it has to be assumed that the author has been dead for at least 70 years (or for at least 50 years in the case of authors of computer programs). Art. 29 Para. 3 CopA also applies in the case of the calculation of orphan unpublished works.

If the author of an unpublished work is unknown, Art. 31 Abs. 1 CopA cannot be simply applied; the right of first publication must be taken into account. Therefore, the term of protection can also just be calculated with an assumed date of death (Art. 29 Para. 3 CopA), which can be very difficult to almost impossible when there is a lack of information on the authorship.