Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Post Mortem Auctoris Definition:

Latin: After the author's death.
Specifically in use in copyright law to refer to the term of copyright: the life of the author plus 50 years or, in some jurisdictions, 70 after his/her death.

Often abbreviated as PMA or even pma.

The term of copyright  post mortem auctorius is a matter of considerable international debate. In 1996, England, the first jurisdiction to assert copyright, had to increase the post mortem autorius of copyright from 50 years to the October 1993 European Union standard of 70 years, causing a considerable amount of legal confusion as some extinguished copyright works were suddenly protected again for a number of years.


  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Copyright: Duration and Term of Copright Protection
  • Garnett, K., and others, Copinger and Skone James on Copyright, 15th Ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2005), pages 327.
  • European Union Directive on Term of Copyright, EU Directive 93/98, adopted by the UK on 1 January 1996

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