Moral rights are perpetual. As to the economic rights, and according to the Berne Convention, which has been ratified by 176 countries including all EU Member States, the period of protection granted to the copyright owner shall be the life of the author and a certain number of years (typically 50 years) after his/her death.

However, in the case of cinematographic works, the countries of the Berne Convention may provide that the period of protection shall 50 years after the work has been made available to the public with the consent of the author, or, if it is not the case, within 50 years from the creation of such a work.

It is to be noticed that the protection period set by the Berne Convention is a minimum standard. Hence, it is up to the Member States, which are parties of the Convention, to set higher time limits for the protection of the copyright.