Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Italy

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of Italy relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in Italy must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both Italy 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 Italy, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.

Governing laws

Italy has been a member of the Berne Convention since 5 December 1887, the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995 and the WIPO Copyright Treaty since 14 March 2010.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed Law No. 633 of April 22, 1941, for the Protection of Copyright and Neighboring Rights (as amended up to Decree-law No. 64 of April 30, 2010) as the main copyright law enacted by the legislature of Italy.[1] WIPO holds the Italian text of this law with an auto-translate tool in their WIPO Lex database.[2] Normattiva holds the consolidated Italian text.[3]

Also relevant is the Cultural heritage and landscape law of 2004 and the Digital Administration Code of 2005.[4][5]

General rules

Under the Copyright Law as of 2016,

  • Economic rights in a work last for the author's life and until the end of the 70th solar year after his death.[633/1941 art. 25]
Note that before 1996/7 the duration was 50 years after the author's death,[6] with wartime extensions of six years for any work published before August 16, 1945.[7] Therefore the calculation of the duration of copyright before the URAA date must consider these protected for 56 years after the author's death, meaning that were in the public domain at the URAA date works of authors died before 1940. Artistic photographs had been protected for 50 years from creation,[6] plus the same six-year extension, so non-simple photographs created before 1940 were public domain on the URAA date.
  • For works of joint authorship where the individual contributions cannot be distinguished, and for dramatic-musical, choreographic and pantomimic works, the duration of economic rights is based on the life of the co-author who dies last.[633/1941 art. 26]
  • For collective works the duration of economic rights of each contribution is based on the life of the contributor. The duration of the economic rights of the work as a whole is 70 years from first publication.[633/1941 art. 26] With magazines, newspapers and other periodic works, duration is calculated separately for each issue.[633/1941 art. 30]
  • For anonymous or pseudonymous works, apart from those where the real author is widely known, the duration of economic rights is 70 years from date of first publication, whatever the form in which it was carried out, as long as the author does not become known in this period.[633/1941 art. 27]
  • National, provincial and municipal administrations are entitled to copyright on works created and published under their name and on their behalf and expense, as are private non-profit entities, academies and other public cultural bodies.[633/1941 art. 11] This copyright lasts for 20 years, or for 2 years for academies and other public cultural bodies, after which the rights revert to the author.[633/1941 art. 29]
  • For posthumously published works, economic rights last for 70 years from the death of the author.[633/1941 art. 31] However, if the posthumous work is first published after copyright has lapsed, economic rights last for 25 years from this first publication.[633/1941 art. 85-ter]
  • Economic rights in a cinematographic work last until the end of the 70th year after the death of the last survivor of the following: the artistic director, the authors of the screenplay, including the author of the dialogue, and the author of the music specifically created to be used in the cinematographic work.[633/1941 art. 32]
  • Photographs are protected works as long as they are not simple protected photographs in accordance with the provisions of Chapter V.[633/1941 art. 2.7] The economic rights of a photographic work last until the 70 year after the death of the author.[633/1941 art. 32-bis]
  • The terms of duration of economic rights above are counted starting from 1 January of the year following the event on which the duration is based.[633/1941 art. 32-ter]

A few exceptions are:

  • "Non-creative" photographs: Italian copyright law provides for a shorter term of 20 years since creation. However, which kinds of photographs are considered "simple photographs" is rather vague; this rule is difficult to apply accurately, and hence should be used on Commons very carefully. Artistic photographs enter the public domain 70 years after the author's death. "Simple photographs" include reproductions of figurative art and still frames from movies. See {{PD-Italy}}.
  • Texts of official acts published and distributed by the Italian State or Italian public administrations: These are in the public domain, unless the copyright has been reserved explicitly[633/1941 art. 5]. See {{PD-Italy-EdictGov}}.
  • Audio recordings that were created and published in Italy at least 50 years ago, of a work which is itself in the public domain: These are in the public domain. Article 75 of Italian copyright law treats audio recordings as a special case[633/1941 art. 75]. See {{PD-Italy-audio}}.
  • Works made for the public administration or for non-profit organisations have 20 years of copyright protection before being in the public domain[633/1941 art. 29]. See {{PD-ItalyGov}}.

Government works


See also: Commons:Government works

Works created by or on behalf of either the government, the former national Fascist Party, an academy, or private legal entities of a non-profit-making character of Italy, have 20 years of duration of the rights (Artt. 11, 29).

Therefore, the theory that a 70-year rule applies to works of the Italian government is unproven and has been disputed. See Commons:Deletion requests/Category:PD Italy.

According to the discussion at Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2023/10#Italy FOP again and artwork copyrights supposedly held by city councils of Italy, buildings and monuments commissioned and paid for by the Italian state (including regions, cities etc.) are also official works (government works), and the copyright in these cases is held by the state or its respective subdivision.

According to article 52, paragraph 2 of the Digital Administration Code, data and documents published by Italian public administrations without any explicit license are considered "open by default" (with exception of personal data). In this case, data and documents without explicit license can be used for free, also for commercial purpose, like CC-BY license or with attribution.[8]

Copyright tags

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-Italy}} – for simple (non-artistic) photographs originating in Italy for which the copyright has expired.
  • {{PD-Italy-audio}} – for audio recording both created and published in Italy at least fifty years ago, of a work which is itself in the public domain.
  • For works where the author died at least seventy years ago, {{PD-old}} applies.
  • For anonymous or pseudonymous works published at least 70 years ago, use {{Anonymous-EU}}.
  • {{PD-Italy-EdictGov}} – for most edicts of the Italian government.
  • {{PD-ItalyGov}} – for works published by the Italian administration or by Italian nonprofit organisations.
  • {{Italy-CAD-OBD}} - for works published by any Italian administration without an explicit license.


See also: Commons:Currency

OK Regarding former Italian currency (lire), the copyright on the artwork is most likely in the public domain. "Copyright in works created and published under the name and at the expense of the State, shall belong to them".[633/1941 art. 11] "The duration of the exploitation rights belonging to the State (…) shall be twenty years as from first publication, whatever the form in which publication was effected".[633/1941 art. 29] The last distributed lira (the 500.000 bill) was distributed in the first half of 1997, more than 20 years ago.[9]

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

Pictures from public places don't formally enjoy any exception in Italian copyright law. Objects still under copyright only allow "quotation right" [633/1941 art. 70] and a minimal and never implemented "fair use" [633/1941 art. 70 c. 1-bis].[10] Some objects are even subject to additional non-copyright restrictions (see below).

According to the discussion at Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2023/10#Italy FOP again and artwork copyrights supposedly held by city councils of Italy, buildings and monuments commissioned and paid for by the Italian state (including regions, cities etc.) are also official works (government works), and the copyright in these cases (20 years from publication) is held by the state or its respective subdivision.

However, objects in public places can still be exempt from copyright for other reasons:

  • OK for objects that are not creative or artistic enough to be copyright-protected, see Threshold of originality [42/2004 art. 11 c. 1e]. Please use {{PD-structure|ITA}} or {{TOO-Italy}} in this case.
  • OK for objects where the copyright has expired, see General rules above.

Please tag Italy no-FoP deletion requests: <noinclude>[[Category:Italian FOP cases/pending]]</noinclude>

Note: A de facto exception for works by deceased authors was discussed extensively. It was initially recognized by the Commons community in April 2021, but abandoned again a few months later after this clarifying discussion.

Additional restrictions for cultural heritage assets

Images of public domain landmarks of Italy like Palermo's Teatro Massimo (whose last-surviving architect died in 1897) may be subject to restrictions on commercial use. In a particular case for this building, the courts of Florence and Palermo ruled in 2017 that a bank's use of the image of this public domain building for their advertisement infringes the rights of Teatro Massimo Foundation who exclusively owns the images of the building. (Società Italiana Brevetti S.p.A. article, IPlens article)

In addition to copyright concerns, photos of any cultural heritage asset are generally subject to preemptive authorisation, a fee and other restriction due to the cultural heritage and landscape law[11] which is a non-copyright restriction. The following are considered cultural heritage assets: state-owned things with some artistic, historic, archaeological or ethno-anthropological interest and libraries, galleries, museums and archives collections, unless explicitly removed on a case by case basis; other items declared cultural heritage by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. The national catalogue of cultural heritage assets is not publicly accessible or does not exist yet. Any artwork or building should be assumed a cultural heritage asset if older than 50 years (or 70 years in some cases since 2017 [42/2004 art. 11 c. 1d]).

Simplifications were envisioned by law for certain kinds of reproductions [42/2004 art. 108 c. 3-bis] and collections [36/2006 art. 7] but are not fully implemented yet as of 2019.

For Wiki Loves Monuments participants, an agreement between the Ministry and Wikimedia has allowed in the past to publish certain photos of cultural heritage assets on Commons, provided that for the ministry-run monuments {{Italy-MiBAC-disclaimer}} is added to the respective file descriptions.


See also: Commons:Stamps Copyrighted Until specific information becomes available, apply the 70 years pma rule (or 70 years after issue for anonymous/pseudonymous stamps), so stamps by designers deceased more than 70 years are public domain. Where there are joint authors, such as an engraver and a designer, the copyright term starts following the death of the last survivor.

{{PD-Italy}} does not apply to Italian stamps. The law contains no exceptions to standard copyright law for stamps.

Stamps sometimes contain date and author. The Stamp Art blog, while not necessarily reliable, does list designers and some engravers of Italian stamps and Italian stamp designers, so may be worth reviewing.[12] The following list of artists whose works are in public domain because they died on or before 31 December 1950 is non-exhaustive:

Works by the following artists will remain protected until 70 years after their death:

The following artists have unknown death dates:

  • Liana Ferri (stamp designs 1934)[13]
  • Gustavo Petronio (active c1920s–1950s)[14]
  • Alberto Repettati (c.1896-1940s)
  • Dino Tofani (1895–?1930)
  • C. Vincenti (1930s)

Threshold of originality

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

Hogan Lovells states "In summary, the threshold for an industrial design product to enjoy copyright protection is still quite high and even famous industrial design products have been denied such protection by Italian Courts."[15]

Probably this applies to logos too. These files have been kept as simple logos:

But the logo of AC Parma was deleted as being a complex logo.[16] Another Parma logo has been deleted but then restored.

See also


  1. a b Italy Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  2. Law No. 633 of April 22, 1941, for the Protection of Copyright and Neighboring Rights (as amended up to Decree-law No. 64 of April 30, 2010). Italy (2010). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  3. Legge 22 aprile 1941, n. 633 Protezione del diritto d'autore e di altri diritti connessi al suo esercizio. (Copyright Act) (in Italian). Retrieved on 2023-11-10.
  4. Decreto Legislativo 22 gennaio 2004, n. 42: "Codice dei beni culturali e del paesaggio, ai sensi dell'articolo 10 della legge 6 luglio 2002, n. 137" (Cultural heritage and landscape law) (in Italian). Gazzetta Ufficiale n. 45 del 24 febbraio 2004 – Supplemento Ordinario n. 28 (2004). Retrieved on 2019-02-01.
  5. Codice dell’amministrazione digitale – Decreto Legislativo 7 marzo 2005, n. 82 (in Italian). Docs Italia. Retrieved on 2019-03-26.
  6. a b Law No. 633 of April 22, 1941, for the Protection of Copyright and Neighboring Rights (as amended up to Legislative Decree No. 685 of November 16, 1994) (in en). WIPO lex (November 16, 1994). Retrieved on 2019-02-04.
  7. Deputy Legislative Decree No. 440 of July 20, 1945, extending the Term of Protection for Intellectual Property Rights and Works protected under Law No. 633 of April 22, 1941 (in it). WIPO lex (July 20, 1945). Retrieved on 2022-01-09.
  8. National Guidelines of Agency for Digital Italy
  9. Seduta della Commissione V BILANCIO, TESORO E PROGRAMMAZIONE (1996-09-18). Retrieved on 9 December 2017.
  10. art. 70, c. 1-bis: "È consentita la libera pubblicazione attraverso la rete internet, a titolo gratuito, di immagini e musiche a bassa risoluzione o degradate, per uso didattico o scientifico e solo nel caso in cui tale utilizzo non sia a scopo di lucro."
  11. italiano «Il Ministero, le regioni e gli altri enti pubblici territoriali possono consentire la riproduzione nonché l'uso strumentale e precario dei beni culturali che abbiano in consegna, fatte salve le disposizioni di cui al comma 2 e quelle in materia di diritto d'autore»; § 107(1) «Nessun canone è dovuto per le riproduzioni richieste da privati per uso personale o per motivi di studio, ovvero da soggetti pubblici per finalità di valorizzazione. I richiedenti sono comunque tenuti al rimborso delle spese sostenute all'amministrazione concedente» ( § 108(3)). it:Libertà di panorama#Italia.
  12. Stamp Designers from Italy. Stamp Art. Retrieved on 2019-03-26.
  13. Liana Ferri SBLV086274: [1] [2] (book 1951)
  14. Gustavo PETRONIO. Associazione Franco Fossati. Retrieved on 2019-03-26.
  15. Hogan Lovells. Copyrights – Copyright protection – Italy. Retrieved on 2022-04-21.
  16. Logo on external site DR
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