Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Sierra Leone

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


The British Crown founded a settlement in Sierra Leone in 1787 as a home for African-Americans they had freed during the American Revolutionary War. Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961.

Sierra Leone has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 23 July 1995.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Copyright Act, 2011 (Act No. 8 of 2011) as the main copyright law enacted by the legislature of Sierra Leone.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2]

General rules

  • The economic and moral right of an author is protected during their life and for 50 years after their death. The moral right exists in perpetuity .[Section 21(1/2)]
  • The economic and moral right in a work of joint authorship is protected during the life of the last surviving author and for 50 years after their death.[Section 21(3a)]
  • A collective work other than a work of applied art or an audiovisual work is protected for 50 years from when it was made, first made available to the public or first published, whichever is last.[Section 21(3b)]
  • An anonymous work or pseudonymous work is protected for 50 years from when it was made, first made available to the public or first published, whichever is last, as long as the author does not become known.[Section 21(3c)]
  • A work of applied art is protected for 25 years from when it was made.[Section 21(3d)]

All the above periods of protection run to the end of the calendar year in which it would otherwise expire.[Section 21(4)]

  • When copyright in a work is owned by a public corporation or other body corporate, protection last for 50 years from the date the work was made public.[Section 22]
  • A photograph is protected until 50 years after the date the work was made.[Section 25]

Educational, scientific, cultural, and public interest

According to the Copyright Act, 2011, the publication of a portrait without the authorization of the copyright holder is allowed as long as it is for scientific, educational or cultural purposes in general or for events of public interest.[Section 33(1)]


An expression of folklore is protected by copyright against reproduction, communication to the public and adaptation when the expression is made for commercial purposes or outside a traditional or customary context. The right to authorize such an act vests in the Minister responsible for trade.[ Section 9]

Public domain: not free

See also: Commons:Paying public domain

Works in the public domain include works with expired terms of protection, works by authors who have renounced their rights and foreign works that do not enjoy protection in Sierra Leone. Subject to payment of a fee to be prescribed by the Registrar a work that has fallen into the public domain may be used without any restriction. These fees will be used to promote institutions that operate for the advancement of authors, performers, producers of sound recording, translators and the arts in general.[8/2011 Section 48]



See also: Commons:Currency

 Not OK: Government works are copyrighted.[8/2011 Section 8]

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

 Not OK: The Copyright Act 2011 Part IV: Permitted use of copyright does not include any exemption that allows reproduction for commercial purposes of protected works that are displayed in public.

See also


  1. a b Sierra Leone Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-05.
  2. Copyright Act, 2011 (Act No. 8 of 2011). Sierra Leone (2011). Retrieved on 2018-11-05.
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