Rules regulating this can be found in the Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works (SFS 1960:729). The Act provides copyright protection to the person who created a literary or artistic work, regardless of whether it is: a fictional or descriptive written or oral expression; a computer program; a musical or dramatic work; a cinematographic work; a photographic work or any other work of fine art; an architectural work or applied art; a work expressed in some other manner.

Copyright protection to a work is valid for 70 years after the creator's death.

No registration or similar is required for copyright protections to apply. The copyright symbol © that is sometimes used is intended only to make it clear that the work is copyrighted.

Copyright protection

Copyright protection means that creators have financial and moral rights protection for their works.

Financial protection means that the creator has the right to make decisions about the work through producing copies (copying pages from a book, downloading music from the internet, drawing a photograph, scanning an image into a computer, etc.) and making it available to the public, in original or modified condition, in translation or processing, in other literature or art, or in other technologies.

Moral rights protection means that the creator should be specified to the extent and in the manner required by good practice. Moral rights protection also means that the work may not be altered in such a way as to violate the literary or artistic reputation or character of the creator. Nor may the work be made available to the public in such form or in such a context as is offensive to the creator.

Use of copyrighted works

To be allowed to use copyrighted works, the main rule is that one must have permission from the creator, but there are restrictions to these exclusive rights. These mean, inter alia, that, without the consent of the creator, one may make copies for private use or reference and may quote from published works.

Copies for private use

Anyone may produce one or a few copies of published works for private use. Published works are those made available to the public with the authorisation of the creator by, for example, selling or by placing them on a webpage on the Internet.

Private use means making copies for oneself for one’s personal life and for people within the most immediate family circle. It is not permitted to produce copies for colleagues in the workplace.

In the case of copying literary works in written form (analogue or digital), there are further restrictions. These may only be copied in limited parts or if they are of limited scope. This means that a textbook may not be copied in its entirety.

Right to quote

It is possible, without the authorisation of the creator, to quote from copyrighted works insofar as it can be justified by the purpose. However, quotes may not be used to embellish one’s own text. When quoting from a work, the source – the creator – is to be indicated to the extent and in the manner applicable according to good practice. Nor may the work be altered more than its use requires. The right to quote does not mean that one can quote entire works, which is why an image cannot be quoted, for example.

If one wishes to use images – regardless of whether one has created the images oneself (such as sketched another creator's collection) or used an image to which someone else has a copyright – as sources of inspiration in one’s work, one must be careful not to risk infringing on another's copyright. Caution is thus recommended in cases in which there is a need to use images of sources of inspiration – to be on the safe side, therefore, permission should always be arranged. One also does not have the right to change (cut, paste, etc.) images to use in collages without the permission of the creator.

As regards the use of tables, diagrams, illustrations, etc., if a table or illustration in its form meets the threshold of originality (has a specific layout, for example), the creator has a copyright. If so, one has to ask for permission to use it in a paper, etc. The source, of course and as usual, must always be stated. If one wishes to present one’s own data in table form, this can be done in the commonly used table forms available for use. Scientific results by themselves are not protected by copyright law; rather, it is the very form in which they are presented which may be protected (if it meets the threshold of originality). One can thus reformat one sort of chart into another when referencing scientific results. However, full reference to the original source must be specified, always. This is true even if you combine different sources in one table (e.g. others’ as well as one’s own).  

Copies for teaching purposes

Within teaching, there is a great need to make copies. As stated above, literary works are subject to copyright. This means that it is not permitted to produce versions by copying them. It is therefore not permitted to copy works on behalf of students and use these in teaching.

In order to enable teachers, despite copyright legislation, to make use of sections of literary works and the like, the university has acceded to an agreement that has been reached between the government and Bonus Copyright. Bonus Copyright is a collective rights management organisation that licenses reproduction rights and represents a variety of organisations and rights holders. Through it, it can be possible to copy sections of literary works for teaching purposes. The agreement gives teachers the right to copy works for teaching purposes within the framework specified in the agreement.

The agreement covers all forms of graphic, photographic, or similar copying, but not the copying of moving images or computer programs. Printing digitally stored works also counts as copying. The agreement does not apply to the presenting of audio and moving images.

Digital original

Under the agreement, teachers and students may copy and share the equivalent of 15 A4 pages from a single digital source, such as from a news site or other digital publication.

Paper original

Teachers and students may copy and share no more than 15 per cent of the number of pages in the book or text, but not more than 15 pages. 

How you can share

The copied material may be shared in digital and analogue form between teachers and students in a teaching group within the university, via e.g. email or on the closed learning platform of the university to which only staff and students have access. The teaching group may vary. Distance learning within Sweden is also covered.

For more information about the agreement, read the rules on copying on the Bonus Copyright website (external link)

Teachers and students who wish to copy more than is permitted under the agreement must themselves seek permission from the person who holds the copyright of the work. Bonus Copyright cannot give such permits.