Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Zimbabwe

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


The British South Africa Company demarcated the present territory during the 1890s. It became the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. In 1965 the white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia. After a lengthy guerrilla war the state gained sovereignty as Zimbabwe in April 1980.

Zimbabwe has been a member of the Berne Convention since 18 April 1980 and the World Trade Organization since 5 March 1995.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the 2004 "Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (Chapter 26:05)" as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of Zimbabwe.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2]

General rules

Under the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, enacted 2004,

  • An audiovisual work, collective work, photograph or computer program is protected for 50 years from the end of the year in which the work is lawfully made available to the public or, failing such an event within 50 years from the making of the work, 50 years from the end of the year in which the work is made.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.1a]
  • A sound recording is protected for 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording is first published.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.1b]
  • A broadcast is protected for 50 years from the end of the year in which the broadcast first takes place.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.1c]
  • A published edition is protected for 50 years from the end of the year in which the edition is first published.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.1ea]
  • Any other literary, musical or artistic work is protected for the life of the author and 50 years from the end of the year in which the author dies.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.1f]
  • Copyright conferred on the State or an international organisation subsist­s
    • For an audiovisual work, photograph, sound recording, broadcast or published edition, for the period specified above.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.2a]
    • For any other literary, musical or artistic work, for 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was first published.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.2b]
  • The copyright in an anonymous or pseudonymous literary work, other than a government work, subsists for 50 years from the end of the year in which the work is made available to the public with the consent of the owner of the copyright or from the end of the year in which it is reasonable to presume that the author died, whichever period is the shorter.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.3]
  • With a work of joint authorship, references to the death of an author refer to the author who dies last.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 15.4]

A Zimbabwean work that is in the public domain in Zimbabwe according to this rule is in the public domain in the U.S. only if it was in the public domain in Zimbabwe in 1996, e.g. if it was published before 1946 and no copyright was registered in the U.S. This is the effect of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (17 USC 104A) with its critical date of January 1, 1996.

Folklore: not free

See also: Commons:Paying public domain

"Work of folklore" means a literary, musical or artistic work, whether or not it is recorded, of which no person can claim to be the author; and the form or content is embodied in the traditions peculiar to one or more communities in Zimbabwe; and includes­ folk tales, folk poetry and traditional riddles; folk songs and instrumental folk music; folk dances, plays and artistic forms of ritual; productions of folk art, in particular drawings, paintings, sculptures, pottery, woodwork, metalwork, jewellery, baskets and costumes.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 80] The Minister may grant a written licence to any person or class of persons authorising him or them, as the case may be, to do anything in relation to a reserved work of folklore, where the right to do that thing has been reserved to the President.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 85(1)] A licence granted under subsection (1) may require the licensee to pay a fee for doing anything under the licence.[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 85(2)]

Copyright tags


See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-Zimbabwe}} – photographs 50 years starting from the end of publication year, other works 50 years starting from the end of the year, in which the author died.


See also: Commons:Currency

Legal tender:  Not OK According to section 50 of the Copyright Act Chapter 26:1 of Zimbabwe the copyright of banknotes and coins are vested in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and subsists from the date on which such bank notes or coin are issued as legal tender until such bank notes or coin are demonetized.

OK Bank notes and coins that have been demonetized.

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

OK: {{FoP-Zimbabwe}}. Section 35 of the 2004 law states:[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 35]

Reproduction of artistic works in public places
The copyright in an artistic work which is permanently situated in a street, square or other public place or in premises open to the public shall not be infringed by­
(a) the work being included in a graphic work, a photograph, an audio-visual work, a broadcast or a cable programme;
(b) the making of copies of the work, where the copies are greatly reduced in scale.

There is a need to attribute the author of the artistic work if photos or videos of it are used for commercial purposes:[Cap.26:05/2004 Section 61(3)]

Right to be identified as author or director

(3) Subject to this Part, the author of an artistic work has the right to be identified as the author of the work for so long as copyright subsists in it, whenever—

(a) the work is published commercially or exhibited in public, or a visual image of it is broadcast or included in a cable programme service; or
(b) an audio-visual work including a visual image of the artistic work is shown in public or copies of such an audio-visual work are issued to the public; or
(c) in the case of
(i) an architectural work in the form of a building; or
(ii) a sculpture; or
(iii) a work of artistic craftsmanship;
copies of a graphic work representing it, or copies of a photograph of it, are issued to the public.

See also


  1. a b Zimbabwe Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-03.
  2. Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (Chapter 26:05). Zimbabwe (2004). Retrieved on 2018-11-03.
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