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About copyright

Copyright is the area of intellectual property rights which provides protection for music, literature and other artistic creations. It is not something that you can apply for, but is an automatic right that occurs when an artistic work is created. There is no official registration system and no authority holds a register of which works are protected by copyright. For that reason, PRV has no regulated information concerning copyright. However, we are happy to provide general information and answer your questions about copyright.

The meaning of copyright

Copyright gives artists, photographers, authors and other creators exclusive rights to control how their own creative works can be expressed, distributed and displayed. Over time, copyright can mean a right to economic compensation.

Copyright covers spoken or written productions, computer programs, databases, musical and performing arts, visual art including photography, architecture, applied art and all other expressions of spiritual creation of literary or artistic content. To be protected by copyright, a work must have a certain degree of originality or individuality, and it should come from the creator's personal, creative effort.

Copyright is governed by the Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works (1960:729), referred to as the Copyright Act. With additional provisions in the Copyright Regulation (1993:1212) and the International Copyright Regulation (1994:193).

© Copyright

Copyright protection is often indicated by the copyright symbol ©. However, a work is protected automatically if it meets the requirements of originality and individuality, even without a © symbol.
Use of the © symbol does not, therefore, create copyright and the symbol actually lacks legal significance in Sweden. However, it can act as a deterrent in the event of unauthorized use of the protected work.

The creator

The original copyright of a work always belongs to one or more physical persons. When the creator dies, the right is passed on to the survivors. The right to use a work can be assigned in full or in part to, for example, a publisher.

Terms of protection

A work is protected even after the death of its creator. The protection is valid for 70 years after the year of the creator's death. If a work has several creators, the protection is valid from the death of the last creator. If the creator is unknown, the protection is valid for 70 years from the publication of the work. If that time is unknown, copyright lasts for 70 years from the creation of the work. The term of protection cannot be extended.

Copyright on the Web and in other digital media

Copyright applies in the same way on the Web as it does for other forms of publishing. Just as for copyright in other media, it is the personal design of text and images that is protected, and not the factual information or underlying ideas.

More information

You can read more about copyright under legislation on the Government Offices of Sweden's website. There are also links which take you to more detailed information on the subject.

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PRV's public library is a specialist resource within intellectual property rights.
PRV's library 

Any questions?

PRV can answer your questions about patents, trademarks, designs, periodicals and personal names.

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