Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Democratic Republic of the Congo

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.


King Leopold II of Belgium acquired personal rights to the Congo territory at the Berlin Conference in 1885 and named it the Congo Free State. In 1908 Belgium formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo. The Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo, known as Congo-Léopoldville to distinguish from the formerly French Congo-Brazzaville. Later it took the name Zaire and then Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As a colony of Belgium, the region came under the Berne Convention as of 14 February 1952, and this continued after it became independent on 30 June 1960. The country formally declared continued application of the Berne Convention as of 8 October 1963.[1] The DRC has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1997, as well as a signatory to various other international treaties.[2]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed Ordinance-Law No. 86-033 of April 5, 1986 on the Protection of Copyright and Neighboring Rights as the main copyright law enacted by the executive of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[2] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[3]

General rules

The copyright law of 1986 states that,

  • Photographs enter the public domain 25 years after they are first published.[86-033/1986 Article 77]
  • Non-photographic work are in the public domain when the author has died more than 50 years ago.[86-033/1986 Article 74]
  • Anonymous or pseudonymous works are in the public domain when they were published more than 50 years ago.[86-033/1986 Article 76]

As for government works, "official acts of authority" ("actes officiels de l’autorité") are ineligible for copyright protection. All other government publications are copyrighted.

Copyright tags


See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-Democratic Republic of the Congo}} – for all anonymous or pseudonymous works published 50 years ago, or 50 years have passed since the death of the author, or it is a photograph and 25 years have passed since publication, or it is an "official act of authority" and ineligible for copyright protection.


See also: Commons:Currency

OOjs UI icon close-ltr-destructive.svg Not OK The country joined the Berne Convention in 1963. The World Intellectual Property Organisation does not list any copyright-related laws prior to 1986. Ordinance-Law No. 86-033 of April 5, 1986 on the Protection of Copyright and Neighboring Rights states:

  • Official acts of the authority shall not give rise to any copyright. Any other literary, artistic, or scientific publications produced by the authorities shall generate copyright for the authorities.[86-033/1986 Article 7]

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

OOjs UI icon close-ltr-destructive.svg Not OK: According to the 1986 copyright law,

  • The reproduction of an architectural work by means of photography, cinematography, television or any other similar procedure, as well as the publication of the corresponding photographs in newspapers, journals and school textbooks, shall be lawful and may not give rise to payment of copyright.[86-033/1986 Article 28]
  • The reproduction in a film or television program of figurative works of art that are permanently located in a public place or included in the film or program in a way that is incidental to the main subject, shall not require authorization from the author.[86-033/1986 Article 29]

Neither is free enough for Wikimedia Commons.

See also


Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer