Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Mexico

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


Mexico was conquered by Spain in 1521. It became independent in 1821.

Mexico has been a member of the Universal Copyright Convention since 12 May 1957, the Berne Convention since 11 June 1967, the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995 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 Federal Law on Copyright (consolidated text published in the Official Journal of the Federation on June 15, 2018) as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of Mexico.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2] Eduardo de la Parra Trujillo wrote a critical commentary on the reforms to the copyright law in 2004, which may still be relevant.[3]


Under the Federal Law on Copyright (1996, consolidated up to June 15, 2018),

  • Copyright lasts for the life of the author and 100 years after their death.[1996-2018 Art. 29(I)]
  • For a work of joint authorship, copyright lasts for the life of the authors and 100 years after the death of the last survivor.[1996-2018 Art. 29(I)]
  • Copyright also lasts for 100 years after the work is disclosed.[1996-2018 Art. 29(II)]
  • Anonymous works are in public domain until the author or the owner of the rights are identified.[1996-2018 Art. 153]
  • Plastic or photographic works: author's life plus 100 years.[1996-2018 Art. 92 bis]
  • Unoriginal databases: 5 years from creation date.[1996-2018 Art. 108]
  • Music groups, choirs, orchestras, ballet and theater companies: 75 years from recording date of a sound work, or first broadcast (TV and radio), or first performance of a work that was not recorded.[1996-2018 Art. 122]
  • Book editors: 50 years from date of publication of the first edition.[1996-2018 Art. 127]
  • Phonogram producers: 75 years from recording date.[1996-2018 Art. 134]
  • Videogram producers: 50 years from date of filming.[1996-2018 Art. 138]
  • Broadcasting organisations: 50 years from first broadcast (TV and radio).[1996-2018 Art. 146]

The above does not apply to works that were already in the public domain before 23 July 2003. Generally speaking, that means works created by someone who had died before 1952 are in the public domain, since they died 30 years before the non-retroactive extension to life plus 50 years was implemented on 12 January 1982.[4]

Term extensions

Copyright terms have been repeatedly extended, but not retroactively. Works remained in the public domain if they were in the public domain before each new law took effect. Relevant laws include the Federal Civil Code of 1928, Federal Copyright Act of 1948, Federal Copyright Act of 1956, Federal Copyright Act of 1963, General Copyright Regime of 1982 and Federal Copyright Act of 1996 and later reforms up to 2014.[5][6][7][8][9][4][2]

  • 1928:
    • 50 years for scientific works.[1928 Art.1181]
    • 30 years for artistic works.[1928 Art.1183]
    • Registration was required within 3 years of publication.[1928 Art.1189]
  • 1948: All terms became life plus 20 years.[1948 Art.8] Registration no longer required for works first published Jan 14, 1948 or later; six-month grace period to register old works to regain copyright.[1948 Trans.Art.Tercero]
  • 1963: All terms became life plus 30 years.[1963 Art.23(I)]
  • 1982: The Diario Oficial of 11 January 1982 reported a revision to Article 23 under which copyright lasted for life plus 50 years, for 50 years from publication for posthumous works, and for 50 years from publication for anonymous works.[4]
  • 1994: The term was extended to life plus 75 years in 1993, effective 1 January 1994, only applicable to works still in copyright at the time.
  • 2003: The term was extended to life plus 100 years.

On the URAA date (1996-01-01), the Copyright Act of 1982 was still applicable.

Government works


See also: Commons:Government works

Works created by the Mexican government do not default to being public domain, being protected 100 years after publication.[1996-2018 Art.29(II)] This applies to the federal, state and municipal governments. As with known authors, the term was extended repeatedly in the past.

  • Under the 1928 Federal Civil Code, the government could hold not copyright.[1928 Art.1235]
  • The extension to 30 years from publication appears to have happened in 1963.[8]
  • The extension to 50 years after from is documented in the Diario Oficial of 11 January 1982.[4]


Under the 1996 copyright law as of 2018, the following are protected,[1996-2018 Art.13]

  • I. Literary works;
  • II. Musical works with or without words;
  • III. Dramatic works;
  • IV. Dances;
  • V. Pictorial works or works of drawing;
  • VI. Sculptures and works of three-dimensional art;
  • VII. Caricatures and cartoons;
  • VIII. Architectural works;
  • IX. Cinematographic and other audiovisual works;
  • X. Radio and television programs;
  • XI. Computer programs;
  • XII. Photographs;
  • XIII. Works of applied art, including works of graphic or textile design;
  • XIV. Works of compilation, consisting of collections of works such as encyclopedias, anthologies, and databases, provided that the said collections constitute intellectual creations by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents.

Not protected

See also: Commons:Unprotected works

Under the 1996 copyright law as of 2018, the following are not protected,[1996-2018 Art.14]

  • I. Ideas, formulas, solutions, concepts, methods, systems, principles, discoveries, processes and inventions of any kind;
  • II. Industrial or commercial use of the ideas contained in the works;
  • III. Schemes, plans or rules to perform mental acts, games or business;
  • IV. Letters, digits or isolated colors, unless their stylization is such that they become original drawings;
  • V. Names and titles or isolated phrases;
  • VI. Simple formats or blank forms to be filled with any type of information, as well as their instructions;
  • VII. Reproductions or imitations, without authorization, of shields, flags or emblems of any country, state, municipality or equivalent political division, or denominations, acronyms, symbols or emblems of international governmental, non-governmental organizations, or of any other officially recognized organization as well as the verbal designation of the same;
  • VIII. Legislative, regulatory, judicial administrative texts, as well as their official translations. If they are published, they must adhere to the official text and will not confer exclusive editing rights; however, the concordances, interpretations, comparative studies, annotations, commentaries and other similar works that entail, on the part of their author, the creation of an original work will be object of protection;
  • IX. The informative content of the news, but its form of expression, and
  • X. Information of common use such as proverbs, sayings, legends, facts, calendars and metric scales.

Copyright tags

See also: Commons:Copyright tags


See also: Commons:Currency

OOjs UI icon close-ltr-destructive.svg Not OK Mexican currency is copyrighted and the reproduction of designs is only permitted by seeking authorisation from the Ministry of Finance (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público).[10][11] Coins and banknotes produced before 23 July 1928 entered the public domain before the law changed on 23 July 2003, and remain in the public domain.

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

OOjs UI icon check-constructive.svg OK {{FoP-Mexico}}

Mexico's federal copyright law, Article 148, allows reproduction without compensation in certain circumstances:

  • Literary and artistic works that have already been disclosed may only be used in the following cases without the consent of the owner of the economic rights and without remuneration, provided that the normal exploitation of the work is not adversely affected thereby and provided also that the source is invariably mentioned and that no alteration is made to the work:"[1996-2018 Art.148]
  • Reproduction, communication and distribution by means of drawings, paintings, photographs and audiovisual processes of works that are visible from public places (lugares publicos).[1996-2018 Art.148(VII)]

The term lugares publicos has been interpreted to include both interior and exterior public places. Government-owned places such as libraries, markets, parks and public gardens have no restrictions against freedom of panorama. However, due to the ambiguity of the article, on some occasions, some establishments like the Mexico City Metro (a government-owned system) have required users to request permission to film or photograph inside the facilities. The Federal Law of Telecom and Broadcasting also uses the term "public places". It defines public places as: "...those that are in the charge of dependencies of federal, state or municipal entities, or under public programs of any one of the three orders of government..." Public places under this law (page 7) would include:

  • Schools, Universities, and every kind of building used for education;
  • Clinics, Hospitals, and every kind of building used for health care;
  • Government offices of all types;
  • Community Centers;
  • Free admission and open places such as parks, green areas and sports centers
  • Places that collaborate in public federal programs.

Threshold of originality

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

As indicated above, the following are examples of what is and what is not protected under the 1996 copyright law:

These images are OOjs UI icon check-constructive.svg OK to upload to Commons
These are OOjs UI icon close-ltr-destructive.svg Not OK to upload to Commons (unless published under a free license by the copyright holder), because they are above the threshold of originality required for copyright protection and are not covered by the law itself.

See also


External links

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