Copyright protection is automatic and originates from the mere creation of the copyrightable work.
The protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years, starting from the first calendar year after the death of the author.
In case of joint works  and in case of dramatic-musical and choreographic works and pantomimes, the duration of the economic rights is determined in relation to the life of the last-surviving co-author. In case of cinematographic works, the term is calculated taking into consideration the last-surviving person among the director, the screenplay writers and the author of the music if it is specifically created for the film. In case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, the duration is 70 years from publication, unless the author reveals his identity prior to expiration of such term.
In case of collective works , where the various parts of the work are published at different times, the duration of economic rights for each part occurs from the time of its publication.
With regards to neighboring rights, phonographic producers' rights last 50 years from the fixation of the phonogram. However, Legislative Decree No. 22/2014 (implementing the EU Directive 2011/77/EU of September 27, 2011) provides that, should the phonogram be lawfully published or communicated to the public, the protection would be extended to 70 years from the date of first lawful publication or communication to the public.
Performers' rights last for 50 years from the time of performance or, if a fixation of the performance is published or communicated to the public during that time, from the first publication or communication to the public, whichever is earlier.
Software is protected as copyrighted work; the Italian Copyright Law provides for some specific provisions in relation to this type of works.
Databases may be protected as copyrighted works in case they represent creative works resulting from the intellectual activity of the author, with consequent application of the relevant rules on copyright. Should the database lack such characteristics, the creator of the database would be granted a sui generis right against full reproduction or material extraction of content lasting 15 years from the first January of the year subsequent to its completion or publication.
Moral rights never expire. Upon the death of the author, the rights may be enforced by the author's heir(s). Furthermore, moral rights cannot be waived.
 Pursuant to Section 10 of the Italian Copyright Law a "joint work" is a work created as a result of the indistinguishable and non-severable contribution of different persons.
 Pursuant to Section 3 of the Italian Copyright Law a collective work is a work created with the contribution of different authors when each contribution can easily be distinguished and severed (by way of example encyclopedias, dictionaries, anthologies, newspapers and magazines)