Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Latvia

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


Latvia was incorporated in the Russian Empire in 1795. On 18 November 1918 Latvia declared independence. On 5 October 1939 Latvia was forced to accept a "mutual assistance" pact with the Soviet Union. After being occupied by Germany during World War II, Latvia was reoccupied by the Soviets in 1944-45. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Latvia regained independence on 21 August 1991.

Latvia has been a member of the Berne Convention since 11 August 1995, the World Trade Organization since 10 February 1999 and and the WIPO Copyright Treaty since 6 March 2002.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Copyright Law (as amended up to June 14, 2017) as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of Latvia.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2] holds a copy of the former 11 May 1993 Law on copyright and related rights.[3]

General rules

Under the Copyright Law of 2000 (as amended up to June 14, 2017),

  • Copyright is in effect for the lifetime of an author and for 70 years after their death, except as specified below.[2000-2017 Sec.36(1)]
  • Copyright to audio-visual works is in effect for 70 years after the death of the last of: the director; the author of the script; the author of the dialogue; the author of a musical work created for an audio-visual work.[2000-2017 Sec.37(1)]
  • Copyright to a work that has legally become available to the public anonymously or under a pseudonym is in effect for 70 years from the time when it has legally become available to the public. If during that time the author reveals his or her identity, or if there is no doubt about the identity, Section 36, Paragraph one of this Law shall apply.[2000-2017 Sec.37(2)]
  • Copyright to a work created by co-authors is in effect for the duration of the lives of all the co-authors and for 70 years after the death of the last surviving co-author.[2000-2017 Sec.37(3)]
  • With authors whose works were prohibited in Latvia or the use of which was restricted from June 1940 to May 1990, the years of prohibition or restriction are excluded from the term of the copyright.[2000-2017 Sec.37(4)]
  • A work, the term of protection of which is not calculated from the moment of the death of the author or authors, protection expires if within 70 years after the creation of such a work it has not lawfully become accessible to the public.[2000-2017 Sec.37(6)]
  • Any person, who after expiration of a copyright lawfully publishes or communicates to the public a previously unpublished work, acquires rights which are equivalent to the economic rights of an author, in effect for 25 years from the first publication or the communicating to the public of the work.[2000-2017 Sec.37(7)]
  • The copyright terms begin on 1 January of the year following the moment of the creation of rights (legal fact) and expire on 31 December of the year in which the terms referred to above expire.[2000-2017 Sec.38]
  • The rights of performers last for 50 years from the first performance. If during this time a fixation of the performance in a phonogram is lawfully published or communicated to the public, the term of protection is 70 years from the day of such publication or communication to the public of the phonogram, depending on which action was the first.[2000-2017 Sec.55(1)]

The law protected works for 50 years after the author's death until 6 April 2000, so that works made by people who died on or before December 31, 1945 were public domain on the URAA date, January 1, 1996.

Not protected


See also: Commons:Unprotected works

Under the Copyright Law of 2000 (as amended up to June 14, 2017), the following are not protected by copyright:

  • laws and regulations and administrative rulings, other documents issued by State and local government institutions and court adjudications (laws, court judgements, decisions and other official documents), as well as official translations of such texts and official consolidated versions;[2000-2017 Sec.6(1)]
  • State approved, as well as internationally recognised official symbols and signs (flags, coats of arms, anthems, and awards), the use of which is subject to specific laws and regulations;[2000-2017 Sec.6(2)]
  • maps, the preparation and use of which are determined by laws and regulations;[2000-2017 Sec.6(3)]
  • information provided in the press, radio or television broadcasts or other information media concerning news of the day and various facts and events;[2000-2017 Sec.6(4)]
  • ideas, methods, processes and mathematical concepts.[2000-2017 Sec.6(5)]

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-LV-exempt}} – for official Latvian State symbols and insignia (flags, coats of arms, anthems, and awards).


See also: Commons:Currency

OK: Under the Copyright Law of 2000 (as amended up to June 14, 2017),

  • The Bank of Latvia holds the copyright of lat banknotes. The Bank of Latvia copyright does not affect the right of the author of the images used on the banknotes to be recognised as the author thereof.[2000-2017 Sec.17'(1)]
  • It is prohibited to reproduce banknotes in any way, except in the case, where the Bank of Latvia, the European Central Bank, the central bank or state which has emitted such banknotes has provided written permission or the requirements of the Bank of Latvia, the European Central Bank or the relevant state for the reproduction of banknotes. Restrictions on the economic rights of authors shall not apply to banknotes.[2000-2017 Sec.17'(2)]

Copyright for euro banknotes and common side of euro coins is determined by the European Central Bank (see COM:CRT/European Union:Currency), but copyright of national sides of euro coins is determined by national legislation. The Bank of Latvia suggests that the Regulation for Reproducing the Lats Banknotes and Coins must be met to reproduce lats, and ECB Reproduction rules must be met to reproduce euros. All photographic reproductions of banknotes and coins must comply those criteria. Prior to the amendments, which came into force in May 1 2004, currency was public domain in Latvia per both the unamended 2000 law and 1993 law. Therefore any coins or banknotes that were no longer in circulation by 2004 date are public domain.

Please use {{Latvian coins}} for relevant Latvian coins images and {{Latvian banknote}} for images of Latvian banknotes, as {{PD-LV}} does not apply to Latvian currency.

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

 Not OK: {{NoFoP-Latvia}} Under the Copyright Law of 2000 (as amended up to June 14, 2017),

  • It is permitted to use images of works of architecture, photography, visual arts, design, as well as of applied arts, permanently displayed in public places, for personal use and as information in news broadcasts or reports of current events, or included in works for non-commercial purposes.[2000-2017 Sec.25(1)]
  • That which is referred to in this Section shall not apply to cases when the image of a work is an object for further repetition of the work, for broadcast by broadcasting organisations or for the purpose of commercial use of the image of a work.[2000-2017 Sec.25(2)]

The non-commercial use restriction is not acceptable for works uploaded to Commons.


See also: Commons:Stamps


The Copyright Law of 2000 (as amended up to June 14, 2017) says that official symbols and signs (flags, coats of arms, anthems, and awards) are not protected, but does not include stamps in this list. It also says that official documents and official translations of such texts are not protected, but a stamp cannot be considered to be the text of an official document. Under the precautionary principle we must assume that stamps are protected in the normal way.

See also


  1. a b Latvia Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  2. Copyright Law (as amended up to June 14, 2017). Latvia (2017). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  3. LATVIJAS REPUBLIKAS LIKUMS Par autortiesībām un blakustiesībām 1993 (in Latvian). Likumi. Latvijas Vēstnesis. Retrieved on 2019-03-27.
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