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Information about the Swedish Copyright Act and advice about how to use texts and images created by others.

The Swedish Copyright Act (Swedish Code of Statutes, SFS 1960:729) gives all originators the same protection, regardless of nationality. The persons who create a literary or artistic work have the right to decide how the work may be used. The copyright act also applies to material published on the Internet.

In order for a literary or artistic work to be granted copyright, the work must meet the threshold of originality, i.e., the work must have a certain degree of originality and independence. The requirements for meeting the threshold of originality are considered low in Sweden. Most literary or artistic works are therefore protected by copyright. 

How long is a work protected by copyright?

A work is protected by copyright 70 years after the death of the originator. Anonymous works are protected 70 years after the publication of the work.

What works are protected by copyright?

  • Factual texts (news articles, research articles, textbooks, student theses, etc.) and literary texts (novels, short stories, poems, etc.) as well as translations.
  • Works of art (photographs, paintings, sculptures, drawings, images, etc.). Building plans and utility goods.
  • Computer programs, databases and catalogues.

How may I use texts written by others?

  • You have the right to make single copies for private use of limited parts of literary works.
  • You have the right to quote from published works according to good practice and context.
  • Public documents from authorities, the government and local authorities can in most cases be used freely
  • The name of the author must always be stated when using his/her work

How may I use images created by others?

  • You have to ask for permission from the originator before using copyrighted images (photographs, illustrations, diagrams, tables, films, videos, audio files). The permission should be in writing and should be saved. State the source immediately after each image and in the reference list or in a separate list of illustrations
  • Permission is required if you use tables/diagrams from a book/journal if they distinctly have an  image-like layout
  • Concerning photographs of individuals, permission must also be granted from the individual being photographed.
  • Concerning photographs of works of art, permission must also be granted from the artist or the copyright owner.

Where do I find the copyright owner of an image?

  • On the reverse page of the title page (for books)
  • In the list of illustrations of a work
  • In close proximity to the image

Copyright and Creative Commons licenses

There are different types of Creative Commons licenses (CC licenses). It is important that you follow the license that applies to the work that you want to use.

When you want to use a picture or illustration with a CC license you need to give proper credit to the creator or creators of the work. The following information needs to be included in order to give proper credit to the creators:

  • Name of the work.
  • Link to the original work.
  • Name of the creators (and preferably links to them if available).
  • The specific license of the work.


Cover image: Thorsten Bosch, “Coala in tree” https://flic.kr/p/2i7yTLS. Licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Learn more about Creative Commons licences

The library offers an online course on Creative Commons licences in scholarly publishing. The course is free, online, and completely open, following the MOOC concept (massive open online course).

Link to the course

Open online course: Creative Commons licences in scholarly publishing

More information about copyright and agreements

Information about the university agreements regarding copying and sharing materials protected by copyright:

Use of copyrighted material in teaching (Aurora)

Latest update: 2024-01-10