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Licensing and Copyright

Why is it important to obtain the proper rights clearances? Our clients value provenance and legitimacy, two pillars we pride ourselves on.


Copyright Law protects artists and creators from exploitation and plagiarism, with the ethos that they should benefit from their original work. In most countries the copyright lasts the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years after death.


Bridgeman Images takes care of everything to avoid copyright problems


To ensure your projects and campaigns are not beset with infringement issues later, it is vital that every work is cleared and licensed through the appropriate channels.


View of the Grand Gallery of the Louvre painting by Hubert Robert
View of the Grand Gallery of the Louvre, 1796 (oil on canvas) / Hubert Robert / Bridgeman Images


UK and European Union


Provides protection for the life of the artist plus 70 years from the end of the year of death of the artist.

EU exceptions include:

  • Spain
  • Did the artist die before 11 November 1987? If so, their work is protected for life plus 80 years.
  • French war artists

If the work of art was published before 31 December 1920 it is protected for life of the artist plus 84 years and 272 days. If it was published after that date, then it is protected for life plus 78 years and 120 days.


New Zealand and South Africa


Both provide protection for the life of the artist plus 50 years.


Australia, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Norway, Peru, Russian Federation, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey


All provide protection for the life of the artist plus 70 years.

In Japan, artists who were nationals of the UK, US and other Allied war nations before the Pacific War have been awarded an extension of copyright term of a further 3,794 days.



This information is a simplification of current legislation for guidance purposes and is subject to change. Bridgeman Images does not offer this as legal advice and takes no responsibility for its interpretation by third parties.


Useful contacts

UNESCO have a wealth of information on international legislation including a news bulletin area and a database of national copyright legislation.

WATCH gives advice on how to trace UK and US copyright holders.

Design and Artists Copyright Society

Bridgeman Images UK team:


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