New term provisions for co-written works in the UK

September 2013

Music Publishing


PRS for Music reminds all of its authors and composers, and Music Law Updates,  that from the 1st  November 2013 a legislative change will alter the way the term of UK copyright protection for a co-written work is calculated. From this date the term of protection for the music and words within the co-written work will now expire 70 years after the death of the last surviving author of that work (composer or lyricist) rather than the current provisions where music and words within a co-written work are treated as separate copyright works with their own individual term of protection. The new law applies to co-written works made:

  • on or after 1 November 2013;
  • before 1 November 2013, where the musical work and/or words are still in copyright in UK on 31 October 2013;
  • before 1 November 2013, where music or the words are protected in at least one member state of the European Economic Area on 1 November 2013.

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