Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Greece

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

Governing laws

Greece has been a member of the Berne Convention since 9 November 1920, the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995 and the WIPO Copyright Treaty since 14 March 2010.[1]

As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed Law No. 2121/1993 on Copyright, Related rights and Cultural Matters (as amended up to Law No. 4531/2018) as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of Greece.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2]

Duration of copyright protection

Under Law No. 2121/1993 as amended up to Law No. 4531/2018,

  • Copyright lasts for the author’s life and for 70 years after his death, calculated from 1 January of the year after the author’s death.[2121/2018 Article 29(1)]
  • Copyright for works of joint authorship lasts for the life of the last surviving author and 70 years after his death, calculated from 1 January of the year after the death of the last surviving author.[2121/2018 Article 30(1)]
  • Copyright for musical compositions with words where the music and lyrics are created specifically for the composition is the same as for works of joint authorship.[2121/2018 Article 30(2)]
  • Copyright for anonymous and pseudonymous works lasts 70 years from 1 January of the year after the year when it was made lawfully accessible to the public, as long as the author is not identified in that period.[2121/2018 Article 31(1)]
  • The term of protection of audiovisual works expires 70 years after the death of the last survivor of the principal director, the author of the screenplay, the author of the dialogue and the composer of the music specifically created for use in the audiovisual work.[2121/2018 Article 31(3)]
  • After expiry of the period of copyright protection, the State, represented by the Minister of Culture, may exercise the rights relating to the acknowledgment of the author’s paternity and the rights relating to the protection of the integrity of the work deriving from the moral rights.[2121/2018 Article 29(2)] This clause may prevent the creation of certain types of derivative work, even after the copyright has expired, as the State has the right to prohibit any distortion, mutilation or other modification of the original work.
  • Any person who, after the expiry of copyright protection, for the first time lawfully publishes or lawfully communicates to the public a previously unpublished work, shall benefit from a protection equivalent to the economic rights of the author. The term of the protection is 25 years from the time when the work was first lawfully published or lawfully communicated to the public and is calculated from 1 January of the year after the first lawful publication or communication to the public”.[2121/2018 Article 51A]

Work for hire

The economic right to works created by employees (under any work relation) of the Government or a legal entity of public law in execution of their duties is transferred to the employer, unless provided otherwise by contract.[2121/2018 Article 8]

Collective work

The term “collective work” shall designate any work created through the independent contribution of several authors acting under the intellectual direction and coordination of one natural person. That natural person shall be the initial right holder of the economic right and the moral right in the collective work. Each author of a contribution shall be the initial right holder of the economic right and the moral right in his own contribution, provided that that contribution is capable of separate exploitation.[2121/2018 Article 7(2)]

Not protected


See also: Commons:Unprotected works

Under Law No. 2121/1993 as amended up to Law No. 4531/2018, there is no copyright protection for official texts expressive of the authority of the State, notably legislative, administrative or judicial texts, nor for expressions of folklore, news information or simple facts and data.[2121/2018 Article 2.5]

Monuments & antiquities

Non copyright restrictions: Producing pictures of monuments and antiquities that belong to the Greek State to be disseminated to the public for profit, including publishing on the internet for profit, requires a license from the Archaeological Receipts Fund according to July 2020 Law (4708/2020, Government Gazette issue 140/Α/21-7-2020 part B article 20). Photography of ancient monuments and antiquities that belong to the Greek State (all dating before 1453 and most dating before 1830 (Law 3028/2002, Government Gazette issue 153/Α/28-6-2002 articles 2 & 7)) is allowed to be taken for free when non-professional equipment is being used but publishing on the internet is allowed for free when no commercial or economical purpose exists or for a limit of up to 5 years under payment of a renewable fee according to the latest Ministerial Decision in force published in Government Gazette issue B-3046/2011-12-30 (chapter 1, article 5). The second Ministerial Decision in force has been issued in 2019 356481/254593/7509/2927/2019 - Government Gazette issue 2812/Β/4-7-2019.

Copyright tags

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-GreekGov}} – for images which are part of official legislative, administrative or judicial documents issued by the Greek Government.


See also: Commons:Currency

OOjs UI icon close-ltr-destructive.svg Not OK According to the Greek legislation, neither the Bank of Greece not any other Greek authority is competent to provide you or any other interested party with any kind of permission to use the image of the Greek drachmae banknotes. However, without prejudice to the moral right of the designer recognized under Greek law (Law 2121/1993, as in force), there is no legal provision prohibiting the reproduction of drachmae banknotes.

Freedom of panorama

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

OOjs UI icon close-ltr-destructive.svg Not OK {{NoFoP-Greece}}

Note: Please tag Greek no-FoP deletion requests: <noinclude>[[Category:Greek FOP cases/pending]]</noinclude>

Under Law No. 2121/1993 as amended up to Law No. 4531/2018, "occasional/casual reproduction and communication by the mass media of images of architectural works, fine art works, photographs or works of applied art, which are sited permanently in a public place, shall be permissible, without the consent of the author and without payment."[2121/2018 Article 26]

It remains unclear what exactly "occasional/casual reproduction and communication by the mass media" encompasses. Even if "communication by the mass media" is seen as an extension of mere "reproduction", the interpretation of "occasional/casual" reproduction remain to be clarified by jurisdiction or an scholarly interpretation. See talk page for a discussion.

Copyright ends 70 years after the author's death. After that, the government might claim moral rights under certain conditions.[2121/2018 Article 29(2)]

Threshold of originality

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

The term “work” is defined as including any original intellectual creation expressed in any form, including alterations of other works as well as collections of works, provided that the selection or the arrangement of such collections is original.[3]

Originality is understood by Greek jurisprudence as a notion of “statistical uniqueness”, which means that the work involves skill, labor and judgment emanating from the author and that no other person, acting under the same circumstances, could produce the exact same work.[4]


See also: Commons:Stamps

Copyrighted Stamps by artists deceased more than 70 years ago (or pseudonymously designed more than 70 years ago, before 1 January 1952) are free. The copyright status of all other stamps issued before 1970 is disputed (possibly {{PD-GreekGov}} as government administrative documents). Stamps issued since 1970 follow the 70 years pma rule.

See also


  1. a b Greece Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  2. Law No. 2121/1993 on Copyright, Related rights and Cultural Matters (as amended up to Law No. 4531/2018). Greece (2018). Retrieved on 2018-11-11.
  3. Greece: Copyright Act. Retrieved on 2019-12-21.
  4. Copyright Law. Retrieved on 2019-12-21.
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