Commons:Copyright rules by territory/São Tomé and Príncipe

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


The islands were uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. They peacefully obtained independence on 12 July 1975.

São Tomé and Príncipe has been a member of the Berne Convention since 14 June 2016.[1]

Until 1972, São Tomé and Príncipe copyright rules were defined by Decree No. 13,725 of 27 May 1927. On 22 February 1972 this was replaced by Decree-Law No. 46980 of 27 April 1966. This was in turn replaced by Decree-Law No. 02/2017.[2]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Code of Copyrights and Related Rights (approved by Decree-Law No. 02/2017) as the main copyright law enacted by the legislature of São Tomé and Príncipe.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[3]

General rules

Under the former Código do Direito de Autor (Copyright Code), enacted 1966 and effective 22 February 1972:[2]

  • Literary, artistic or scientific works were protected for the life of the author and 50 years after their death.[46980/1966 Art.25]
  • Protection for jointly authored works lasted until 50 years after the death of the last surviving author.[46980/1966 Art.30]
  • Protection for collective works as a whole lasted for 50 years after publication.[46980/1966 Art.31]
  • Protection for individual contributions to a jointly authored or collective work lasted for 50 years after the death of the author.[46980/1966 Art.32]
  • Protection for posthumous works lasted for 50 years after death of the author.[46980/1966 Art.33]
  • Protection for anonymous or pseudonymous works lasted for 50 years after publication, if the author did not become known during that period.[46980/1966 Art.34]
  • All terms based on the death of the author lasted until 1 January of the following year.[46980/1966 Art.35]

Under the Decree Law 02/2017,

  • The standard duration of protection is for the author's life + 70 years.[02/2017 Art.31]
  • Copyright in a joint work expires 70 years after death of the last surviving author.[02/2017 Art.32(1)]
  • Copyright in a collective work is attributed to the natural or legal entity that has organized and directed its creation and in whose name it has been disclosed or published. Newspapers and other periodicals are presumed to be collective works.[02/2017 Art.19]
    • Copyright in a collective work expires 70 years after first disclosure or publication, unless the individuals who made it have been identified in the version that was disclosed.[02/2017 Art.32(2)]
    • Where an individual contribution can be distinguished, copyright for that contribution lasts for the author's life + 70 years.[02/2017 Art.32(3)].
  • Anonymous works are protect for 70 years after publication or disclosure.[02/2017 Art.33]
  • Films and audiovisual works are protected for 70 years after death of the last survivor of the director, author of the work being adapted, scriptwriter and composer of music specifically for the work.[02/2017 Art.34]

Not protected


See also: Commons:Unprotected works

Under the Decree Law 02/2017, copyright protection does not apply to the following:[02/2017 Art.7]

  • News of the day and the reports of events that are simple information, however disclosed;
  • Applications, claims, complaints and written or oral submissions to authorities or public services
  • Proposed texts and speeches before assemblies or other collegial, political and administrative bodies at the national, regional or local level, or in public debates on issues of public interest;
  • Political speeches.

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

OOjs UI icon check-constructive.svg OK: {{FoP-São Tomé and Príncipe}}. Under the Decree Law 02/2017, the following uses of a work are lawful without the author's consent: ... The use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be kept permanently in public places;[02/2017 Art.75.2(p)]

It can be noted that the wording is similar to the Portuguese freedom of panorama provision. In the absence of any specific case law to the contrary, and considering that São Tomé and Príncipe is a former Portuguese colony, it is reasonable to assume that the rules will be identical. See Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Portugal#Freedom of panorama for details on the Portuguese freedom of panorama.

Recent discussion/s: Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2021/09#São Tomé and Príncipe FOP revisited.


  1. a b São Tomé and Príncipe Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-04.
  2. a b Code on Copyright (approved by Decree-Law No. 46980 of April 27, 1966) (1972). Retrieved on 2019-01-15.
  3. Code of Copyrights and Related Rights (approved by Decree-Law No. 02/2017). São Tomé and Príncipe (2017). Retrieved on 2018-11-04.
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